“New Media Selfie” for KC Studio Magazine [PRESS]

Set your selfie straight

Set your selfie straight

I’m quoted in Carrie Riehl and Ross Redman’s article “New Media Selfie” for KC Studio Magazine. Check out the web version here:

http://kcstudio.org/blog/2014/06/17/selfie/

Print version here:

http://www.calameo.com/read/00000925634d8fef4d53c

Quotes from me here:

“I think there is a clear measure of disingenuousness in selfies like Ellen’s corporate Samsung-sponsored selfie at the 2014 Academy Awards. This became another version of mixing advertisement and entertainment; of course, on the other hand it worked in the sense that it went totally viral, and many people copied it. Samsung made a meme, and Ellen is to thank for this. After this point, the selfie went totally ‘mainstream.’” We spoke to Hyperallergic’s selfie columnist Alicia Eler about her ideas on the construct of selfies and how to measure their success. After a year of documenting the most successful (and perhaps unsuccessful) selfies every week, the article is closing with an image of NASA’s selfie to end all selfies.

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“Before I learned that selfies could be used as a positive exchange between friends, I really only exchanged selfies with a previous girlfriend as a way to suggest sex. Now I see that selfies don’t have to be sexual at all; they can be friendly and weird, funny and awkward, cute and innocent without any strings attached. It’s really nice to receive a selfie from a friend and see how they are doing. :)” Alicia Eler uses her selfies for good. She makes a strong distinction between selfies which are meant for private viewing versus public consumption. “To share an image privately is more like sending self-portraits to a friend you trust … or as if to say ‘Here I am with the people I care about.’”

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“I think a ‘successful selfie’ is one that accurately portrays how one is looking and feeling right now,” says Alicia Eler. “If you are feeling on top of the world and just got a great haircut and want to share it, why not go for it! Who cares, really? If you feel like shit because you’re at the hospital with your dying grandfather and you want your friend to know what’s happening in your world, that is also successful. We all need to feel loved and supported by the people in our lives. The idea of success in the selfie depends on if you are able to honestly convey your emotional state-of-being.”

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Every day we are surrounded by thousands of people reading and sharing with our feelings and beliefs. They reside in virtual arenas, technically more connected then ever but more lonely and disjointed. The selfie comes from a dark place of fear, the feeling “I don’t exist” in hundreds and hundreds of images, “Do I live, am I living?” You must interject yourself in physical stature into this demanding feed of images or be lost, or assumed as a company or organization. This act allows your followers to experience your growth with you, the acceleration or falling of the individual as they struggle with this identity crisis. Alicia Eler thinks “the self-portrait and the selfie are for anyone who’s continuously documenting the act of becoming.”