With the advent of android phones, most phone users can now take self-portraits and share these photographs on social networking platforms. These photographs have famously become known as ‘Selfies’. Today, ‘Selfie’ doesn’t just refer to a self-portrait shared on social media; it is also the title of an American romantic comedy series on ABC and the title of countless music videos all over the world. To make this phenomenon even more fun, all sorts of personalities now try to get their piece of the pie. And the president of the most powerful nation recently stunned the world when he was shown in a video taking ‘Selfies’ in front of a mirror. This video scored over 4,312,079 hits on youtube.
The history of ‘Selfie’ doesn’t just stop at the White House; it continues to Indonesia where British nature photographer David Slater went to take images of some monkeys, but had his camera seized by one of the creatures. The monkey took several ‘Selfies’ of itself and made the photographer instantly famous when these images were shared in the media.
‘Selfies’ may be fun to take but it can be obsessive when people decide to capture and share a minute-by-minute image of themselves on social media. The ability to share images on social media seems to have broken all barriers of self-restraint. Ridiculous as it may look, some people even post photos of their meals at home; as if to whet the appetite of the whole world. Being able to post ones images on social media isn’t entirely a bad idea. Sometime back, the Californian actress Samantha Futerman accidentally discovered her twin sister, Anais Bordier, from whom she was separated at birth on social media. This goes to prove social media could be a very positive force in our lives.
The culture of ‘Selfies’, however, took a dip recently when two Russian fire fighters took a ‘Selfie’ of themselves with a house burning in the background. Yet another ‘Selfie’ emerged of a female paramedic with dying patients in the background. These instances raise serious ethical questions about what type of ‘Selfies’ we post on social media. Was it appropriate for the firemen to take a ‘Selfie’ when their duty was actually to rescue people caught up in the blaze? Or was it appropriate for the paramedic to take a ‘Selfie’ of herself with dying patients?
As far as social media is concerned, the decision to post seemingly inappropriate ‘Selfies’ rests in the hands of users. Although the posting of inappropriate ‘Selfies’ by individuals may not attract sanctions from society, we must be wary that posting some of these ‘Selfies’ may be offensive to the people for whom it is meant.