A few days ago, I asked my daughter if she liked my new selfie pic on Facebook. I held the phone out so she could see. She tipped her head one way, then the other. She skewed up one corner of her mouth.
“Is it bad?” I turned the phone and stared at myself. Looked fairly decent to me.
“No. No. You look good, but it looks like a gen-xer selfie.”
“What does that mean?” I wasn’t sure if I should be offended or laugh it off. We’re always teasing one another about our generational differences. When working on a story together, she points out my lameness and need for more conflict. And I force her to step outside the story and consider the audience, marketing, and networking.
She continued to study the picture. I was impressed by the attention, but really a simple, “Nice pic” would have sufficed. Instead, she held out her arms. “You’re holding the phone straight out in front of you with two hands. You need a popsocket.”
“A popsocket. Like the unicorn on my phone.”
(If you’re like me, and you have no idea what she’s talking about. Click here to broaden your horizons).
“I’m not putting one of those things on my phone. People will think I’m trying to be young and cool. I’ll look stupid. It’ll just be weird.” Plus, I like to shove my phone in my back pocket like a big plastic comb.
To be fair, I’ll admit, on most occasions, a popsocket would have been helpful. Here is an example:
Looks like we’re trying to identify some far off entity. This was one of three picture attempts. All equally questionable. How in the world are you supposed to get a bridge in the background, block the sun, and keep yourself in the picture? We never did get one we loved because we ended up laughing so hard.
In the past, Mel encouraged me to get a selfie stick, but put a weapon in my hands and ask me to take a selfie…. It’s probably going to end badly for someone.
Tanya and Brenda, I’m so sorry. A selfie-stick would have alleviated my clothesline approach. This picture happened four or five years ago and did not go into any photo albums. But, it perfectly demonstrates my lack of skill. Which brings me to my point.
Do I try to catch up to Generation Y– the selfie professionals–and improve my ability? Or do I laugh it off as unimportant? The writer/social worker in me can’t help but ask:
Is A Good Selfie Important?
On iMore, they discuss ten reasons why selfies are important. Of them, a few struck me as more than frivolous and fall within the three areas I’ve listed below.
1. Self Approval
I’m not sure this can be captured by taking a picture, but the concept–the idea–that we approve of ourselves and aren’t ashamed to share our picture with the world is healthy. It becomes unhealthy when we seek the approval of others. In this case, likes do not equal love. What happens if no one likes it? One picture or a dozen, if we post for affirmation, we give others control over our opinion of ourselves, and our insecurities show.
2. It’s Fun
In my experience, selfies can be a way to bond, share, and laugh with our friends and complete strangers. With the different filters, emoji’s, stickers, etc. available, creating funny, enjoyable pictures is a cool hobby. I have a hard time sacrificing my time to do it, but the talents of my kids and others crack me up.
3. Marketing ideas. Here is where the rubber meets the road for me.
- People react to Selfies. Maybe to be kind, but I think it goes deeper. We know relationships are important because when we lose someone through a break up, death, or they simply move out of our lives, we grieve. And if we have unfinished business with that person, our grief can become detrimental. Here is a great blog that explains it further. Interaction with other humans is at the core of our basic needs along with food/water and shelter. On a subconscious level, liking selfies is a way of connecting with that person.
- When I buy a book, I flip it over to see a picture of the author. I also love to read a little bit about them. If I do that, others probably do, too. Isn’t the selfie, in social media, essentially the same thing. We want to know who we’re doing business with, even if that business is a new friend on a given forum.
- We can make our own Meme’s, GIFs, and Boomerangs to promote our work. I’m excited to try this…on my daughter. No matter how much I believe the selfie is important in marketing and networking, I don’t like to be in front of a camera. The idea of Facebook Live terrifies me. But there is a quote from the famous book Who Moved My Cheese?
This quote has always pushed me forward out of my comfort zone. To be different, to try new things, to look at life through a different lens. Today, it’s the front facing lens.
Bottom line: The selfie is part of our culture. Used in so many venues. It’s a tool I need to master, so, I asked Mel to give me a crash course. She was more than happy to oblige. Here is how the lesson went:
“Okay, Mom. First, you need the right light.” Mel pushes me toward the open front door. “Stand there…. No, you don’t want your back to the light. You want to face the light.”
I turn to face the light and snap a picture.
She takes the phone and studies it. “Too much glare and you’re squinting. Use one hand to hold the phone.”
“How am I supposed to tap the button when I’m holding it with only one hand?”
“You just do it. It’s not that hard.”
Easy for her to say. I wasn’t born with a cell phone in my hand. But I try. My phone slips, and I start laughing. “I told you. It’s too awkward.”
“You can do it. Hold it like this.” She positions it in my hand. “Hold the phone at an angle. Don’t hold it so close.”
“That’s not the angle I meant, and you’re still laughing.” Mel grabs my hand and holds it up and off to the side with my wrist bent. “Right there.” She steps back. By now, I think maybe I should just go buy the new IPhone X for $1000.00. Isn’t it designed to take the perfect selfie? For that price I wonder if it comes with a built in selfie stick and popsocket.
“Awesome. These look good.” Mel gives me a thumbs up. “But there’s still a little glare, so turn just a bit.”
“Okay, and maybe you can get out of my picture?” I study the photos, the angle, the glare. I’m determined to get this right. I don’t care if I look like a gen-xer, but I want to be happy with the final product. I can do this.
I don’t like the spot-light, and I’m not particularly good at photography, but I do understand, in the realm of social media, the selfie is an important tool, if not for personal use, then for business. Mel and I are just starting out on this journey of writing together. We don’t know where it will take us, but we’re determined with every tiny step along the way, to give it our best shot.
Ha. Decent light, no glare, a good angle, and one handed.
How do you feel about selfies and real time videos? Are you selfie-challenged like me? Do you have any tips or hints?
Drop me a line. We can form a support group.
Featured Image Photo by geralt