student life

The positives and the negatives about selfies

A ‘selfie’ is a great way to show off a good hair day.

A ‘selfie’ is a great way to show off a good hair day. It’s a great way to show off what an individual is wearing for a night out, or when you want to remember a happy or funny moment in life. However, ‘selfies’ can also lead to problems in one’s social circle, if done in excess. It can make a person look vain and insecure if not done correctly.

Recently, a report was published on PR Newswire, under the name ‘HTC One Selfie Phenomenon.’ It featured many interesting statistics, as well as a few notable ones that stood out from the rest. According to the report, over ’51 per cent of the UK has taken a selfie’ on the smartphone, and a ‘third of those over 65 have taken ‘silver-selfies.’

A powerful way to create a physical memory

Just picturing a man or a woman in what could be described as their ‘golden years’ taking a self-portrait of themselves with a camera is joyous to imagine. That’s what makes ‘selfies’ great—it’s a powerful way to create and keep a physical memory of a particular moment, with you as a photographer being in the image as well as anyone else.

Interestingly, only ’29 per cent of UK adults know the term ‘selfie’’ and to be honest, neither did I until I did some further research into the topic. It sounds like an urban slang term that has been created and adopted by the younger generations of today, but it is definitely a term that is more prominent and catchy than say, ‘self-image.’

A whole host of negatives

As well as the positives of ‘selfies,’ there also exists a whole host of negatives. In order to gain an idea of what the general public thinks about ‘selfies’ in my local area, I told a group of people about the recent report and asked them what their individual thoughts were about this latest craze.

A barmaid from Hull named Gemma said it ‘depends on what kind of person you are and how you perceive yourself. I personally think it’s a bad idea as you just over analyse your own insecurities.’ Holly, who is also a barmaid, said that they ‘are fine but some people go too far pulling silly faces. No ‘selfies’ are ever natural!’

Finally, I had the chance to talk to a student called Beth who was originally from Scunthorpe but was living and studying in Hull. She said that ‘selfies’ were ‘perfectly acceptable as long as the person isn’t claiming that the photos are modelling ones or they’re nude ones.’

More nude selfies appearing

All my interviewees brought up some great points about selfies, especially Beth, who made the bold statement about the photos being unacceptable if they were nude ones. These kind of ‘selfies’ are occurring more and more in the modern era, with the report stating that ‘41% of 18-24 year olds admitted to taking ‘sexy selfies.’

While this could be considered a good thing, with people wanting to show would-be partners their best features, it can also lead to catastrophic problems. These nude photos could potentially be passed to the wrong people, or used to blackmail the original author of the image. This is why extreme caution needs to be utilised if you decide to take a ‘selfie’ in this manner.

It is also possible that the person in the ‘selfie’ may look entirely different than they do in real life. This is because the image has been altered, usually because of the insecurities or vainness that someone may experience as a result of taking ‘selfies.’

The personality of the individual

The report states that features such as skin tone, eye colour, lips and figure have all been retouched or edited at some point by the general public, so viewers should always observe the images with a pinch of salt.

As part of my research for this article, I experimented with ‘selfies’ myself. I found myself taking a considerable amount of time choosing a pose or type of smile that I was comfortable with before taking the shot, and as a result ended up with more photos than I would have liked. I guess it just depends on the personality of the individual. Some people would be happy with the first image, whilst others would need a little more dedication to the image before they were satisfied.

Know all the possible consequences

It is possible nowadays for people to view ‘selfies’ almost anywhere. The survey states that ‘selfies’ are shared on social media sites such as Twitter, Pinterest, WhatsApp and many others. Facebook is at the top of the statistics, with 48 per cent of the people surveyed using it to show off their ‘selfies’. The newest app to utilise this craze is Snapchat, which was used by 5 per cent of the public to share a ‘selfie.’

In closing, however you decide to make use of a ‘selfie’, make sure you know all the possible consequences. It’s a tool that should only be used to have fun with or for business, so make sure you never stray away from that fact, and keep the craze going strong!

What do you think about selfies? Are they here to stay? Have your say in the comments section below, on Facebook or on Twitter.