The other night my BFF asked me send her a selfie on my way to a big night out. Five years ago, maybe even one year ago, I would have said ‘Excaaauuuse me! I’m not that kind of girl’. Instead, I snapped a plum-lipped smiling shot and awaited one in return.
I know they get a bad rap, but I love selfies. I love seeing my friends’ adorable mugs as they go on a date with their kiddos; as they react to the little brown present their toddler just left them on the floor; at the end of the day as they cheers with a glass of their signature drink.
There is something engaging about seeing someone’s eyes, their smile, how they hold their bodies. There is something a little more personal in a very impersonal online world…. when it’s done with certain intent.
There is a line we draw in the sand around what makes a selfie ‘like-worthy’ and encouraging connection and what inspires eye rolls and societal scoffs at ‘kids these days’.
Spotlighting VS Engaging
You can easily pick up on the ‘someone tell me how cute I am’ images versus the ‘this is me and my life, welcome to it’ shots. Selfies can be a good way to fish for compliments or they can be a way to connect and engage with your online friends and community.
Best Image VS Your Image
A spotless four-feet of background featuring a lipstick smile and adorable outfit may happen from time to time. If you are a mom, this is rare as your kids wearing matching socks. Of course we want to put our best image forward online, but sometimes this isn’t representative of our everyday lives. You gotta throw in something genuine. Your real life – in all its smudged makeup, pajama pants, dishes in sink glory.
#selfiequeen VS ‘This is what my morning was like’
It revolves around the audience we are attracting, usually indicated by our hashtags. Are we looking to engage with our online community or project a glossy image of ourselves to the cyber-world? As my sister informed me, the hashtags are key in spotting the femdouches from the instamoms you want to get to know more.
The Mannequin Selfies
If you are giving me the exact same pose and lighting every time then I will assume you are taking pictures of a mannequin and changing their hair and clothes for each shot. I will think you are totally weird but also be deeply intrigued and might want to ask you out for a cocktail. I hope you bring your mannequin.
Have you ever had a penpal? If they only sent you pictures of food they ate and their house it wouldn’t really be much material for developing intimacy. If they sent you pictures of them with their childhood pet, enjoying their pastimes, surrounded by their loved ones, it would hold a lot more meaning.
Selfies aren’t just about spotlighting your best features. They are about getting personal with the most impersonal medium. They are a step towards engagement with a person and not their things.
So go on! Take a selfie; share something about your day. And OWN IT! Then tag me in it so I can get to know you a little more. Plus I’m just plain nosy and I love to see what your home looks like, and what you are wearing.