Selfie Justification / Hyperallergic

Selfie Justification

Fake selfie of Erdogan and his son Bilal in front of police at a protest in Istanbul. (image via Twitter)

LOS ANGELES — I hit the brakes at a stoplight and turn my head to the left. I spot a young woman waiting for the bus. In golden capital letters on her t-shirt, the words WHY NOT shine boldly. I thought of taking a photo of her, but the the light turned green and I made a right to head home. Her T-shirt phrase stuck in my mind — how could it not? I had been contemplating this column since watching Ellen’s Academy Awards selfie break the Twitter retweets record. When it comes to the question of why people take selfies, the answers are endless: for attention, quick social validation from peers, self-promotion, to transform boredom into fascination with the self(ie), and to connect with friends and family online. SaysMark R. Leary, Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience and author of The Curse of the Self: Self-Awareness, Egotism, and the Quality of Human Life: “By posting selfies, people can keep themselves in other people’s minds.” The question is, then, why not post a selfie?

Citizens of Manila are on to their selfies. Ranked the “selfiest city in the world” based on a study by Time magazine that looked at photos on Instagram tagged #selfie during the time periods January 28–February 2 and March 3–7 2014, Manila boasted 259 selfie-takers per 100,000 people. According to this study, Manhattan and Miami come in second and third, respectively.

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