Even after being named the word of the year in 2013, the selfie is still just as prominent on social networking sites. Selfies are growing in popularity in businesses as well. Promotions and advertisements are being created by big name companies that incorporate selfies. It seems to be a good business strategy, too. There are well over 100 million images on Instagram tagged with either #me or #selfie, and that number does not include images tagged on Twitter or Tumblr.
The term “selfie”is said to first have been used by a photographer named Jim Krause in 2005 in his book Photo Idea Index, who said a selfie is great because “they can be taken just about anywhere, anytime.” Selfies were popular profile pictures on MySpace, usually taken in the mirror with the flash on. As MySpace faded away and Facebook grew to prominence, selfies became less frequent because Facebook was more about interacting with friends, and profile pictures were usually with more than one person. Due to this, selfies as profile pictures were not used as often on Facebook as on MySpace.
One of the main contributors, if not the biggest contributor, to the selfie growing to what it is today is the implementation of a front-facing camera on the iPhone 4 in 2010. Although other phones had used front-facing cameras before, they were not as good as on the iPhone and most were only available in Japan or Korea. The availability and quality of the camera on the iPhone 4 made the popularity of the selfie grow even more because people no longer needed to turn a camera or their phone around in order to take a picture, specifically a selfie.
And from there, selfies have become a staple in today’s society. It is not uncommon to see people taking selfies in public, especially with a group of friends. Selfies are also becoming common in media. Commercials for big corporations like Samsung and their Galaxy Gear, hit songs like #Selfie by The Chainsmokers, and promotional campaigns by companies like Axe Deodorant that encourage people to take selfies have fueled the popularity of the selfie and made it commonplace in media.
Whether or not this movement of accepting the selfie into society is a good or bad move is hard to say. It allows people to express themselves, although the exposure could be negative. Some selfies generate lots of buzz around them which leads to coverage. Ellen DeGeneres tweeted a selfie along with some of her celebrity friends during the Academy Awards that became the most retweeted picture ever before the show was even over. Other selfie trends that were popular were the tag #selfieolympics that was used during the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics, in which people would take selfies i
n odd positions. For all the selfies and trends that are fun, there are those that generate a lot of negativity and hate, like people taking selfies at funerals or selfies that are sexual in nature.
Disregarding the trends, selfies are most definitely here to stay simply because people are social in nature, and with smart phones and cameras always readily accessible, people are going to be taking pictures and making sure they look good in order to impress others. Just about everyone who has a smart phone has taken a picture of themselves, whether it was to share with others or not. The popularity of the selfie also makes good business sense for companies in order to advertise for their products. It allows them to create a promotion around something that is popular instead of creating something entirely new.
Every day technology is getting more and more advanced, and every new product that can record an event with a selfie will be used for that purpose. Whether it is taken by oneself in the mirror, with a goofy face with friends, or atop a mountain with a GoPro, the selfie continues to be used and to be used in creative ways. The age of the selfie may have started nearly a decade ago, but their resurgence has made them even more popular, and with people pushing the limits of where or what they can do whilst taking one, there is no telling what is next up for the selfie.