Selfies give instant gratification, take away memories

MOVE Columnist Ellie Papadakis on why selfies aren’t cool.

I’m just going to put this out there: I don’t understand selfies.

Don’t get me wrong, I like being in pictures, and I use Instagram just as much as the next person, but selfies feel like some abstract form of Internet art. To take a “true” selfie it looks like there are three rules:

1. You have to take it yourself 2. You can be the only person in the photo 3. It has to be from a weird angle, which also happens to be your most flattering angle.

I’m all for posting photos online, and sharing where I am and what I’m doing visually, but selfies don’t really give you any of that. For me, I would rather see a picture of the beach than a phone-camera photo of a person with wet hair. I would rather see a group picture of a bunch of friends on a boat than a weirdly cropped photo with the faces too close to the camera.

Because after all, isn’t photography a way to freeze memories? Isn’t it better to fill the storage space on our phones with group photos and landscape pictures of the places we’ve been than our “OOTD” and perfectly-even eyeliner?

I think so.

But people want instant gratification and selfies are a way to get that. It’s so easy to post a pretty photo on Facebook and ask people to tell you that you look nice. That’s OK, sometimes, because if we’re being completely honest, who doesn’t want to be complimented by their friends?

It starts to become a problem, however, if it’s done excessively. Recently, a few articles surfaced online reporting the American Psychiatric Association had classified “selfitis” as a mental disorder. It turned out that this was completely untrue. It was a hoax started by a few disreputable websites.

That said, maybe those articles speak to our need to be liked — literally — by others. Has my generation become so shallow and self-conscious that we need the constant approval of others to tell us we look nice? Have we been influenced so much by Hollywood tabloids to think that the only pictures we can take are the ones where we have to look like an A-lister?

I hope not.

And, yeah, it’s awesome that we can instantaneously share where we are in the world, what we’re doing, and how we’re dressed, but I think that sometimes it’s good to have a little privacy, too. Sometimes it’s better to hold off on the instant gratification of posting a photo online and getting likes and comments about it right away.

Maybe next time you go out, instead of posting a “getting ready selfie,” don’t do it and instead, let people tell you how awesome you look in real life.

Not only will your friends really mean it, but it’ll probably make you feel like a thousand bucks, too.

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