Rant: The Selfie and Why I Hate My Generation

Drawing by Studio Tdes

Drawing by Studio Tdes

It’s no laughing matter that the selfie has been marked as responsible for more deaths than sharks, but the phenomenon continues to get worse and worse. It’s been egged on by the selfie stick; which is mostly in use with us millennials.

As a 28 year old man, I can say with complete confidence that I really, really hate my generation.

I rarely snap selfies and many of my friends also rarely snap selfies. The ones that do? They’re models, actresses, cosplayers or are in a line of work that requires people to see them and their good looks. Again, it’s their job and they’re paid for it or the work is done for some sort of monetary return to come in. But on a daily basis, it’s very apparent just how narcissistic some folks are when a social media feed is filled with them. I also know people who regularly use a selfie stick just for the heck of it.

The video above is quite literally what you look like to the rest of the world when you take a selfie. It was posted by 120 Sports and while the commentators aren’t exactly the greatest people for the way they’re making fun of the members of the sorority (according to other commentators) in the frame, just realize that this is what other people are actually saying about you too. Your actions are honestly pretty narcissistic and look even more so with a selfie stick. But I’m going to do my best to sufficiently explain this to you.

  • Why would you take a selfie of yourself at a protest? Shouldn’t you be there for the cause?
  • Why would you take a selfie of yourself when you’re in front of the Pope at Mass? Shouldn’t you be there for the Mass?
  • Why would you take a selfie of yourself at a wedding? Aren’t you there to support the couple on their special day?
  • Why do we need to see the drunken, blurry photos of you are your friends partying it up on Halloween?

If the occasion is about you and is rather significant, then that makes sense. Your new baby? Snap away for that selfie! Did some other life achievement happen that is clearly visible to people? Snap that photo! But again, it’s got to be a life achievement and a life changing event–those don’t happen often and that builds further on my idea of moderation. But the Selfie Stick has caused and fed the need for people to take many more selfies all the time.

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So what’s so wrong with the selfie? To be honest, in extreme moderation absolutely nothing is really wrong with it. But a selfie should really be taken to commemorate a really special moment in your life that is worth genuine excitement–a milestone if you will that can be visually apparent and where that story is told in a single photo easily. And to that end, though we should be thankful for everything we have in life, not every moment is worth it to broadcast–no one wants to see a selfie of you being bored while waiting for the train. Sadly, that’s where social media and photography (in the most basic, consumerish non-artistic sense) seems to be going and what we’re going to end up with is an internet 98% filled with absolute fleeting crap that no one will even bat an eye at and 2% excellent content that is meaningful and tugs at our emotions in some way.

Chris Gampat the Phoblographer Lily Drone (1 of 1)ISO 2001-550 sec at f - 4.0

Just look at drones! The Lily is pretty much designed for this! But to be honest, while you want to record every single moment of your life, consider the following:

  • Is your life really cool enough to the point where everyone always wants to know everything about you?
  • Is every single day of your life worth recording and remembering when in 10 years you probably will be too busy trying to record that aspect of your life to even care?
  • What makes your life so much cooler than everyone else?
  • Who are you and how are you better than anyone else?
  • When in history did it become cool for everyone to have their own reality TV show or feed?
  • With social media feeds being so convoluted to begin with, why would someone want to pay attention to you?
  • MOST OF ALL: DO YOU PROVIDE VALUE TO SOMEONE ELSE’S LIFE?

The answer to the last part is most likely a hard, resounding no.

Again, to hit home on my point, nothing is wrong with it if you’re one of those hot chicks on Instagram or Facebook using it for promotional purposes. Why? You’re quite literally a brand and you need to develop social content about, well, you! In fact, if you’re a brand or a business, it’s essential to be all about yourself for your survival. How else are you going to pay your workers? So in that case, go for it, use the selfie stick!

But the Selfie Stick is consistently abused by people in public. Walk around NYC or Brooklyn and you’ll see people using it and orchestrating some sort of photo that blocks traffic and causes accidents and deaths. Are you so self-absorbed that the importance of taking a photo of yourself comes before your own obvious safety?

Stop it. Just seriously, stop it.