Thursday, October 17, 2013

Selfie Etiquette 101


Selfie is a newly coined term. If you like taking snapshots using your smart phone or tablet and sharing them on social media, you’re probably familiar with the word. Chances are some of you might have taken your share of selfies or know people who do. 
According to Digital Trends, last month, the Oxford Dictionary formally included the word “selfie�? in its database of acceptable English words. For those who are not well acquainted with the term, selfie is a self-portrait taken with a smart phone, webcam, tablet, or some other gadget and uploaded to a social media website such as Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

Modern technology has substantially changed the way people take photographs. We have certainly come a long way from cameras that require film to operate and long waiting period for photos to be processed in a digital lab.

Taking selfies has become a very popular habit that transgressed the state of being a mere fad. Since the end of 2011, more people have become interested in taking selfies and posting them online. A selfie giveaway is when you see the person’s arm holding out the camera. Others use a mirror to take a picture of themselves.

Some say that selfie is now a way of life or part of our culture.  People from all walks of life have jumped into the selfie bandwagon. Ordinary citizens, students, professionals, celebrities, athletes, politicians, businessmen, media men, and even religious figures have yielded to the clamor of selfies. In fact, no less than Pope Francis himself has experienced being part of a selfie.  Many people were in awe when the news came out that Pope Francis posed for a selfie with young Italian pilgrims in St Peter's Basilica, Vatican City last August 2013. That was a momentous event in the history of social media. The photos went viral and the people called it the first ever “Papal selfie.�?

People have different reactions to selfies. I guess it’s either you love them or hate them.  Some claim that sharing selfies on social media is a form of getting validation from people through actions such as liking or sharing comments. I personally don’t find another wrong with selfies. In fact, I have my share of selfies. 

Here are some reminders when taking selfies. If there are table manners that have to be followed when dining, appropriate conduct also applies when taking selfies. 

Practice selfie manners

pope selfieSafety first - Traffic can be horrendous especially when it’s pouring cats and dogs and streets become flooded.  Weekend paydays and mall sales can also contribute to road congestion and turtle-like traffic pace. Accidents can also result to bumper to bumper traffic. Some people stuck in such situations have found a way to amuse themselves and that’s taking car selfies. It’s simply taking self portraits inside the car while the vehicle is parked, on a temporary stop, or while moving. Passengers and even the drivers themselves can take car selfies. There might be little or no risk when you take a car selfiewhile the car is parked. However, a driver taking a car selfie on a red light or worse, while the car is moving can be dangerous.  Word of caution to drivers, always keep your eyes on the road. It’s best to reserve self portraits when the car is on a full stop or parked safely.  Never compromise your safety for a mere photo.

Appropriateness of the location - Be considerate when taking selfies especially in sensitive locations or situations. For instance, it might not be appropriate to take a selfie with a backdrop of a deceased person (such as in a wake or funeral), accident, or scene of a crime. The Guardiancited the unbecoming behavior of a kid making a thumbs-up gesture in front of the Holocaust memorial in Berlin.  Another unsuitable selfie mentioned was that of a guy smiling in front of a burning house. Three years ago, some insensitive people posted selfies with a backdrop of the bus used during the Luneta bus hostage taking incident. Be considerate and discreet when taking pictures. Don’t take a snapshot if there’s a possibility of offending other people.

Keep it at a minimum Like many other things, the key to selfie is moderation.  Taking selfies and sharing them on social media a few times a week is alright but bombarding the timeline of your friends with four or more selfies on the same day may not be something that everyone will appreciate. Resist the urge to share every little detail about you.  I don’t think your friends will be interested how you cut your nails or brush your teeth.  There are also photos not fit for sharing to the world and best left for your eyes only.  For instance, refrain from taking scantily clad selfies. Decency is still important in this modern world. You don’t have to flaunt to the world how sexy you are.

No to selfie monopoly – Make it a point to post other photos aside from selfies.  You don’t want your friends and followers to think that you have a hopeless case of narcissism.  An article on The Weekrecommends 1:8 ratio of selfie to other photos. If your Instagram account is purely selfies, it is likely that your followers will lose interest and unfollow you.

Be careful of what you post – It might be fun to take selfies but think before you post a snapshot of yourself. Avoid posting a selfie that can put you in an uncomfortable situation. For example, don’t post a selfie taken at the beach on the day that you told your boss that you’re taking a few days off because you have the flu.  Take note that selfies have the potential to be incriminating in certain situations.

Don’t look stupid on purpose– Don’t give other people an excuse to make fun of you by posting ridiculous selfies. Enough with the duck lips! It’s an overused pose that many people find annoying.  Avoid taking selfies when you’re sick or drunk.  If you’re going to take a selfie, might as well make an effort to look good. Give your best smile and take that shot.  Post pictures that you can be proud of and not the other way around.

No comments:

Post a Comment