I used to not take pictures of myself. I had a few bad pictures of me taken and I thought I just wasn’t photogenic. Jeffrey Fiene was an Ugly Duckling, but, one fateful Christmas, I got my first smart phone. With the smart phone came the capability to have an Instagram account. With that Instagram account came my first selfie. I could finally show myself off the way I wanted to be seen, as a crazy-haired, eyebrow-cocking, blue-green eyed, glasses-wearing, big ol’ nerd.
In the paper my class read for this week, I was made aware that our digital selves are cumulative. There is no whole body of work that a person could look at to see our digital self. To give people a better idea of how our digital and physical self meld, we take pictures of ourselves and caption them (most of the time). We throw a few hashtag on the pictures so people who are interested in the content, but don’t see it because they’ve got no association with the person in the selfie, can find it and like it and enjoy the photo.
Of course, with every good thing there is a bad side. I have many female friends who get harassed daily on their pictures. Guys wanting more skin, more pictures, more attention, more anything. I have people criticized for their religion and skin color and sexuality and femininity. There are countless people who want to destroy others because of the differences. And differences scare them.
Why do we keep putting ourselves out their if different waves of abuse are consistent? Because, through our dedication to the selfies, we can see the change in us. We can be proud of who we are. Some of us do daily photos, Instagram posts, or Snapchat stories. We are feeling more comfortable with sharing who we are. Self assurance, self-confidence, and self-reliance all stemming from a selfie is powerful. Sometimes it is necessary.
Not everyone works the same way. Not everyone needs to feel reassure themselves in the way an Instagram post would provide. The ones that do get that reassurance now have an easy avenue to feel better. And feeling better is what it’s all about, in the end.
Here’s a picture of Captain Caveman. He believed in himself and so should you.