Today I came across an article on LinkedIn called “Forget the Selfie: Let’s Make 2013 the Year of the Unselfie”. Obviously I was intrigued by the fact that there was such an article posted on LinkedIn of all places, so I thought I’d give it a read. The main point of it was – selfies are narcissistic, so instead of taking a picture of yourself and how good you look, instead write all the charities or causes you’re supporting during the holiday season on a piece of paper, hold it up in front of your face, and take a selfie like THAT. And then voila, this is called the UNselfie!!
Take a look at the original article here.
Now after I read the article I saw a lot of comments bashing the idea by saying the UNselfie may even be more narcissistic because you’re visually bragging about all the causes you’re supposedly supporting from the goodness of your heart. I also saw a lot of useless comments by middle-aged folk proclaiming how “stupid” the selfie is (2 things I noticed from these comments: middle-aged people like to use a lot of exclamation points, and very few of them know who Kim Kardashian is).
Now my problem with this article, and the ongoing flack that my generation receives for our so-called obsession with the selfie, is that generations before us continuously refer to US as the narcissistic GENERATION. Can you believe that? They think our WHOLE GENERATION is narcissistic. But the worst part of it all, is that they think narcissism is this new thing that we’ve created. Well guess what guys, narcissism isn’t new.
The fact that our generation takes to Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and other forms of social media to show off their new car, their good hair day, the fact that they graduated, isn’t narcissism at all… It’s a trend that has emerged with the rise of technology. 20 years ago, it wasn’t possible to take a picture of yourself on your phone and instantly post it to the internet. You would have had to take the picture on your huge camera, got the film developed, found a way to scan the picture on the computer, and then.. well was there even a social media platform where you could post something like this? And if there was…. did your family and friends even own internet-capable computers so they could see it? Generally, the answer is no, but this is the reality that Millennials face today. I’ll be the first to admit that I like to take selfies – sometimes I put together a really great outfit that I want people to see, or how about when I cut my hair… I had people texting me DYING to see that selfie! I don’t think this is narcissism at all; in a socially connected world – the selfie is a way of letting people into your personal life, and an even better way to keep in contact with friends and family that you haven’t seen in a while. In fact, I bet if you ask my mom – she probably enjoys my selfies because she can clearly see that I’m still alive and well. And you know what.. I wish she had selfies to show me from when she was my age, because wouldn’t that be so cool?
So maybe Generation X and the Baby Boomers don’t quite understand why we do what we do, but then again, we don’t understand why they think it’s so hard to figure out Facebook. But this is my plea to that generation, to please think about why something is taking place before you refer to a whole generation on negative terms. And like I said… narcissism isn’t a new thing. So when everyone in Gen X spent hours in front of the mirror admiring their Farrah Fawcett blow out or Def Leppard shag … this wasn’t narcissism, right? Actually, I’m sure there were a few people out there that even thought: man I wish more people could see this.