March 16 - No Selfies Day

Posted on March 16, 2020

Today's "holiday" invites us to reflect on two trends: self-photography and posting selfies on social media.

In and of itself, self-photography is fine. Commemorating your ascent of every mountain you climb or every country you visit is a great idea, and there are lots of ways to take a picture of yourself or your group: doing the long-arm selfie, using a selfie stick, erecting a tripod or just positioning a camera or phone, and using a remote shutter or a timer, asking a stranger to click a pic!

Matt Harding used to travel around the world
doing bad dances (HIS description) for a
camera-on-a-tripod. His latest trips, he decided
to reach out to locals and dance with them -
sometimes joining in with traditional costumes
and dance moves!

To check out Matt's travels, google
Where the Heck Is Matt?

Also, posting pictures of yourself on social media is fine. Keep friends and family in the loop about where you are and what you're doing! Help others see the world through your eyes, express yourself, create a corner of the universe where you can be you!

HOWEVER. There can be a down side of both taking selfies and especially of posting selfies on social media. The down side takes problems that existed even before these trends and technologies, and makes those problems even worse.

(1) Self-absorption tends to make people less happy and also to make communities and societies less well functioning. 

Expressing yourself and sharing your life with friends and family is GREAT - but it should be balanced with listening to and learning from others, helping other people, and taking a wide-range and long-term view of life, the universe, and everything.

(2) Many people who post selfies on social media are looking for attention and approval - for likes and for positive comments. The desires for attention and approval are understandable and natural, but they can be a problem in an enormously busy world with tons and tons of distractions. 

People who check too often for likes...people who feel dejected if a post is ignored...people who base their self-worth on responses others do or do not give (especially on social media)...These are all problems!

(3) There are too many, too restrictive definitions and expectations out there: beauty, sexiness, masculinity, femininity. People who take and post a lot of selfies of course want to present themselves in a positive way - I get not wanting to post an unflattering pic! - but many people - especially teens, and especially teenage girls - spend too much time trying for a photo that meets unrealistic expectations. 

I read that, these days, the average girl spends almost an hour and a half per week trying to get a perfect selfie. I guess that time can be explained by time for grooming, trying on different clothes and hair styles, editing photos, and taking more than one photo to get the look they want - but that's a fair bit of time for an AVERAGE. That means that some girls are spending a lot more time per week than what is already, probably, too much time on such a self-oriented activity.

(4) Some people try to get crazy selfies that will go viral - and they end up doing crazy-dangerous stuff.

Don't do that!

To celebrate No Selfies Day, don't post a selfie today, and maybe commit to taking a break from your usual level of selfie posting. For instance, if you post around three selfies a week, take an entire week off and see what that feels like.

But the main thing is to think about, and talk about, selfies and social media. 

I like this quote from a No Selfies Day write up:

"The entire concept of no-selfie day is to start living your life and being in the moment, rather than trying to capture and edit it."

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