Note to Self-ies

The ‘selfie’ traces its roots to ‘MySpace pic’ — an amateurish, flash-blinded self-portrait, often taken in front of a bathroom mirror. These self-portraits, shot basically with cellphones, became a sign of bad taste during MySpace’s hey days in 2006 to around 2009.

Then came Facebook.

Social networking sites — especially Facebook — enabled people to connect with friends and families across the globe easily. The added bonus to FB is the digital picture. Facebook became not just a social network but a means of proving one’s social reach. Posed group photographs, tagged pictures, and friend counts were supposed to be benchmarks of social net worth, and a sign of healthy participation in the digital world. As FB followers grew exponentially, so did its model of what it meant to interact online. The subject of the MySpace bathroom selfie — with its tableaux of bathroom counter, mirror, face, and upper body — always looked, well, alone. It became apparent that selfies were for people without friends; the more popular, techno-savvy moved on to more advanced networks.

By the time FB overtook MySpace’s traffic in 2009, selfies seemed doomed to marginalization. However, the release of the cutting-edge iPhone 4, with its front-facing camera — meaning, you can now take a self-portrait while looking at the screen, allowing for perfect framing and focus, which makes selfies look as polished and crisp as posed group shots, and no longer require a mirror or an awkwardly contorted hand — brought selfies to its new-found prominence. Now, the selfie is back!

Yeah, now we get tons of them posted by teenagers (Awright! And some responsible adults, too!), who document everything from new hairstyles to new shoes to no particular occasion at all. People take selfies in public, posing everywhere and in every which way.

To most of us, selfies are annoying… well, not always. Here’s a fresh look at selfies from the perspective of a self-confessed ‘nonsubscriber’ to this love-it-or-hate-it digital photograph genre.

This piece is written by a good friend, Kiko Gacias a.k.a. Blue Bell Bantigue:

What would you do if you suddenly find yourself alone on Christmas eve?

I used to come home to a place where children would happily partake of the special noche buena, and excitedly open the gifts they received from their dad. But that was before, which is now almost a long,long time ago. I now live — alone — in a half-finished three-story house where my closest neighbor is, just like me, ‘again-single.’

So, would I sleep? Some neighbors are still merrymaking and their boisterous and inebriated laughter eclipsed the sonorous barking of the dogs from the former mayor’s house. And how could I lull myself to sleep when someone’s crooning Imelda Papin songs in a videoke? Nah, the bed isn’t inviting enough yet. So, would I do some house cleaning? The floor surely looked dusty… but sweep the floor at midnight? No dice. Sweating out before going to bed doesn’t look very appealing either. Would I turn to Facebook then? Forget it. It’s way past FB time.

Wait. There IS one thing left to do: I’d have some fun! I’d play with my camera, mess up my room, take ‘selfie’ shots and clone myself six times, perhaps; then pretend to have each of my carbon copy greet each other a Merry Christmas!

Ooooookay. I confess now. I used to look differently at selfies. I’ve never subscribed to Twitter or Instagram, and unless a personal photo is tagged unto my FB wall, I would normally avoid posting my own picture on my wall or profile. I used to think that more often than not, posting one’s own photo was an extension of one’s self-absorption or arrested adolescence — a form of vanity and, therefore, narcissistic. I used to think announcing to the world that you’re on headed to some posh destination, doing something in the toilet, in a party or in a movie house, is dangerous and an open invitation for thieves. I used to think posting the nouvelle cuisine or even the hawker food you had for dinner is an insult and is being insensitive to those who have little food on their table; and posting a photo of your new Hermes bag is plain hubris. In short, I used to think posting one’s own photo or activity on the Internet is either suggestive of one’s egotism or just plain over indulgence.

Well, I said, “I used to…” When Pope Francis and Barack Obama, two of the world’s most influential men, took to selfies, I decided to delve deeper into the phenomenon. Skimming through various articles written about the subject, including opinions shared by psychologists, selfie practitioners, and those who are vehemently against it, I ended up weighing the subject more in its favor. There are selfies and there are selfies. There are selfies that would evidently put yourself to physical risks or risks of ridicule; and there are selfies that would make you able to communicate better and put you in touch with the world. At the end of the day, I tended to highly consider joining the fray. I realized, didn’t Rembrandt paint dozens of self-portraits and weren’t most accomplished writers overly obsessed with the subject “I”?

Selfies may, after all, be reflections of self-exploration. The world is getting smaller by the day and selfies do provide a way of participating and affiliating with the world. Why avoid selfies and sulk in your own impenetrable shell?

So okay, I will do a selfie. I do not care how I’d look; but, I wouldn’t want just another selfie. How should I come up with a ‘different’ kind of selfie, anyway?

Folks, with your kind indulgence, here’s what I came up with… and, I wonder what Narcissus would have to say.

Here’s from me and my clones: A blessed Christmas and a bountiful New Year!



About Seeing with Brahmin eyes
My sense of humor can be keen, sarcastic, silly or corny -- sometimes all at once. I enjoy meeting new people with no preconceived ideas about what or what is not possible. You get much more out of life by being open minded and willing. I'm an easy going, good-natured person who loves life and loves people. I'm both optimistic and realistic and pretty objective when it comes to assessing situations, events, etc. In general I am a very positive person and you'll usually find we with a smile on my face.

2 Responses to Note to Self-ies

  1. I love it! I wonder if the cloned selfie is next 🙂 We cannot see how others view us when we interact with others, at least we could not. Now of course one quick click and we see.

    • I think the ‘cloned selfie’ is gaining popularity among Fiipino netizens, at least. 🙂 So I wouldn’t really be surprised if we see more of ’em in the coming year.

      Happy New Year to you and your family, Chris!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: