Technology has rapidly developed to be an integral part of modern day living. Most of the children born in the United States of America in the last decade of the twentieth century and in the twenty first century grew up and continue to grow up next to computers and also have access to the internet (Stern, S., 2008). The internet has been an avenue through which people in this generation, and especially children share their emotions and express themselves freely. This can be shown through the various massages that are posted on social media networks, these includes even photos that give an expression of events and mods of people appearing those photos.
A study is represented by (Stern, S., 2008) on the online activities of American teens. This replicates that more than fifty percent of teens who have access to the internet share original content. This can translate to poems, written articles about oneself or occurrences of the day, photos with captions expressing emotions or even music of one’s creation. (Busetta L. &; Coladonato L., 2015) also recognizes the networking knowledge among the youths of today and investigates the same through the trend of today; the “selfies”.
There are notions that in the past were highly regarded and are threatened to be faced out with the emergence of the “selfie” as a trend. This most notably includes the notions of privacy and subjectivity. Through oneline networking, “selfies” are which is a form of visual self-representation is doing away with such notions (Busetta L. &; Coladonato L., 2015). Through the “selfies”, people and especially teens and celebrities are able to circulate their images fast across the globe.
Communication and networking has changed immensely today thanks to the “selfie” as per (Saltz. J. 2014). Most youths of today take “selfies” through their smart phones and immediately send them round on social circles probably revealing details of their location, what they are into, their perception of themselves and whomever they think is checking on their “selfies”.
This age has been described as the age of the “selfie” and the “selfie” described as a genre; a genre of visual expression. This is because a formal logic can be found in the taking and sharing of “selfies” across social networks. It is like “selfies” were invented for a purpose, a purpose that never seems to cease in the near future as the more they go around social networks, the more they are taken and shared. It has not only become an obsession of the teens but for almost everyone with a mobile device who wishes to express themselves or share in events they are involved in.
Social interaction has indeed changed, thanks to this era of the “selfie”. How body language was perceived in the first half of the twentieth century is very different from what is depicted in communication represented in “selfies” today. Communication in the past was had great sense of humour, something that is lost when selfies pass around social networks. Selfies also in a way or the other infiltrating people’s privacy through what is portrayed when these pictures pass around across social networks (Saltz. J. 2014).
The common view that perhaps most of us have about the “selfies” is dispelled by (Gómez E. & Thornham H., 2015). They argue that “selfies” should be understood as a phenomenon covering social and cultural aspects of life and this expressed through the media; the social media. The common view that many have that is disregarded is that “selfies” a form of one documenting their self, or a form of reaffirmation of self-identity by anyone taking and circulating them.
We are made to understand the socio-technical phenomenon that “selfies” are rather than the object that is the pictures taken using the front cameras of smartphones Gómez E. & Thornham H., 2015). As a phenomenon, it is indeed true that the circulation of selfies across social networks and social media has not only contributed to self-expression and sharing of information, but rather contributed to the injecting of life in these media and improved on digital communication. It is however difficult to gauge whether the era of the “selfie” is a plus or a minus to this generation.
We could understand the phenomenon that the “selfie” is looking back into the history of photography in general and how it was used as a means of expression. (Rachel S., 2015) takes us through some moments in the history of photography and the use of photography as a means of expression that will perhaps change the attitudes of many on the trend of this day; the “selfie”.
A representation of smartphone users of today is given. Many people can be seen in public places holding their smartphones in front of them, perhaps taking selfies. These phones are perhaps linked to social media accounts such as Facebook, twitter or Instagram. These people are considered privileged because they not only have the opportunity to take pictures of their faces, but also to share it to the whole world (Rachel S., 2015).
A reflection is given into years back. Years where taking and publishing a photograph was a problem, let alone find a media to share the same. A reflection is made into the life of Julia Margaret Cameron, a photographer of the eighteenth century who started taking photographs at the age of fourty eight. She had an old fashion camera that she perhaps used as toy to see through her grey days (Rachel S., 2015). She was not fortunate enough to get a platform to share the same.
It is more touching when considering the case of Mariana Hooper Adams, an American elite who got the opportunity to take and print pictures of herself but did not get the opportunity to share them with any one (Rachel S., 2015). This was a lady well educated and perhaps a candidate for a socialite status in the present day. The times she lived in did not allow her to live the life she desired as she stayed submissive to the husband and lived through a quiet life all by herself.
She took and developed pictures of herself from the age of fourty and did this for two years. Since she had no one to share these pictures with and passed through what many women of today would not keep with themselves for even a few hours, she took her life. (Rachel S., 2015) wants us to appreciate the phenomenon that “selfies” are and what it has done to networking and communication through social media.
Concluding by the assertions of (Stern, S., 2008), people today are able to express themselves more conspicuously, more collectively and more abundantly. The culture today has been reproduced through the use of the internet and technology, as the other authors would agree considering expression by the means of “selfies” across social networks. Expression online has been more fulfilling and this has been made easier through the use of technology whereby phones can be connected to online networks and platforms.
We are at a valuable time (Stern, S., 2008) we should not let this pass away and lets use advents in technology to reproduce our cultures and express ourselves fully, lest we be like Mariana Hooper Adams and Julia Margaret Cameron.
Busetta, Laura; Coladonato, Laura, ‘Introduction Be Your Selfie: Identity, Aesthetics and Power in Digital Self-Representation’ in Networking Knowledge, Special Issue: Be Your Selfie 8(6) November 2015.
Gómez, Edgar; Thornham, Helen. Selfies beyond self-representation: the (theoretical) f(r)ictions of a practice. Journal of Aesthetics & Culture, [S.l.], v. 7, Dec. 2015. Online at: http://www.aestheticsandculture.net/index.php/jac/article/view/28073
Saltz. J. 2014. “At Arm’s Length: A History of the Selfie.” New York Magazine. Online at http://www.vulture.com/2014/01/history-of-the-selfie.html
Stern, S (2008) “Producing Sites, Exploring Identities: Youth Online Authorship.” In Youth, Identity, and Digital Media. (Ed ) David Buckingham. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press,. 95-118. (e-book)
Syme, Rachel, ‘SELFIE: The revolutionary potential of your own face, in seven chapters.’ Medium. Nov 2015. Online at: https://medium.com/matter/selfie-fe945dcba6b0#.brnp7v3yo