We’ve all been taken pictures of ourselves well before we started calling them ‘selfies’ (at least I did!) but it’s certainly become a brand name and the marketer in me can’t help but look at it with admiration, because it’s grown so strong that it has the power to impact lives both negatively and positively.
Today I’d like to look at both the ugly and the beautiful face of ‘selfie’.
Danny Bowman, 19, is the first recognised case of ‘selfie addict’, after he tried to commit suicide failing to capture the perfect selfie, despite taking 200 snaps a day, we learn from an article published on mirror.co.uk.
“Danny’s case is particularly extreme,” said Dr David Veal from the clinic where the teen has been treated off his selfie addiction. “But this is a serious problem. It’s not a vanity issue. It’s a mental health one which has an extremely high suicide rate.”
We find out from the same source that the selfie craze has swept social media over the past five years, with stars, ¬politicians and even Pope Francis posting shots online. Last year, the Oxford English Dictionary named it word of the year after research showed its frequency of use had soared 17,000 per cent in 12 months, so there’s no surprise we’re starting to see the side effects.
We all know about the #nomakeupselfie viral campaign that helped Cancer Research raise over £1 million, despite it not having been orchestrated by any cancer related charity. It somehow started somewhere and then it spread like wildfire. This is great social media campaign that should go down in marketing history because it is a fantastic example of how efficient a campaign can be when it uses vanity for a good cause.
Sure, I jumped on the band wagon too and took a selfie, posted it on Facebook, donated my £3 to Cancer Research in the process, but I’m not a big ‘selfie’ person. I take them but I hardly ever share them on social media sites. I thought it was a great idea, you know, baring your face. I’m a believer in natural beauty and if anything I’d much rather see faces with no make-up then pouting glamorous shots, especially for a worthy cause, so this campaign appealed to me. However…
I was taught a lesson today. A friend posted this on Facebook and it moved me so much that I had to write about it: the truth, that is. The truth is that baring your soul is the most courageous act of them all!
‘Instead of bearing my face I’m bearing my soul to admit I’ve had a sinus cancer for around a year now and it really SUCKS! I’ve been one of the lucky ones as my cancer is not aggressive but it still impacted my life and put my plans on hold. It also made me think how likely it is that this disease is going to touch our lives in the future. So I donate money each month to make sure there’s more lucky stories like hopefully mine #cancersucks’
In your face, selfie!