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Above: Me & Sharon. Demonstrating a selfie at the Warner Bros. Studio Tour on Diagon Alley. And with my Biscuiteers' Boutique cupcake.

(Before we begin, this post isn't sponsored or anything at all.)

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My outdoors adventures loving, shopping hating, best friend Ebony can be filed under best-friend-you-could-meet-but-doesn't-try-to-get-me.

Ebony: 'I bet you're going to take a photo of yourself in that lipstick.'
Me: 'Yep; selfie time!'
Ebony: '... You even have a word for that kinda thing?!'
Me: *attempts to think of an explanation and fails*

More so in the past 7 days than ever before, the word selfie has been thrust into the spotlight with plenty of connotations attached. For the most part it's been used to judge those joining in with that ol' "breast cancer awareness" #NoMakeupSelfie social media campaign - FYI, my two cents is that no-one has ever spoken about it more than right now when everyone's complaining that it doesn't raise awareness or help. Double entendres, y'all - but also, y'know, to self-indulgently document one's face.

I often find myself defending the selfie. Granted I really don't post many, if you're discounting outfit posts which aren't technically shot by myself(ie). But nevertheless, I defend myself anyway. Us bloggers use social media in such a way that is still very new and taboo to other social media mavens. Striding forwards with our usually original ideas, posts, tags and visions that sometimes "go viral" and joining forces with our captivated and engaged audiences, I find it's real-life social media community users that I justify myself to.

You see on a very topline kind of level, the selfie is pretty narcissistic. Don't deny it - there's some semblance of 'I look alright enough to share to the potential public'. Social media finely and pretty darn coolly bridges that gap between virtual reality and scary real reality.

Would I for a moment dare to print a snap of my face and post it on a community board in town? Er, no. But there's something weirdly invigorating about posting it online where any amount of people from no-one to the some 1.8 billion social network users* could see it. And applied in a fame contextual way, you never know, your face could (and if you were on Facebook this week, it did) influence thousands.

I guess the main reason I defend the selfie is because I see the other ways that social media is useful, relatable and darn valuable today. As a mass consumer AND mediocre creator I know that seeing a photo of Rumi Neely a.k.a. Fashiontoast will make me add more Phillip Lim to the wishlist, that watching as the public gets excited about a campaign that I've worked on will forever make me feel proud and that Zoe is a prime example of being the most influential girl-next-doors. (Her blog actually inspired me to start my own, all those years ago.)

How do you view the selfie trend? Is it a bit self-indulgent and gratuitous, or do you also see the building value of it?

Click here to donate to Breakthrough Breast Cancer, or to find out more about planning fundraising events. Or text PINK to 70300 to make an immediate donation.
* Statistics taken from We Are Social, January Report 2014.

6 comments

  1. I think this might be one of my favourite posts of yours, Michelle; you make such a compelling argument, and one that goes so far beyond the atypical 'my instagram/twitter/facebook/blog, my rules', or 'don't like, don't follow' - you actually composed such a thorough argument, and I think you're completely right. The fact of the matter is, yes, despite 'selfies' being fundamentally narcissistic, it goes so far beyond personal preference, and you can't deny they're a valuable marketing device. In a world where social media is arguably one of the most influential forms of marketing, I don't think you can deny the fact that they're a completely effective way to raise awareness xx

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  2. I went from taking lots of selfies during the MySpace era to being judgemental of the selfie but I think I've come back around. This is less from a social media/marketing perspective, but I've seen people say that the selfie is empowering in that it allows girls in particular to be able to control the way they're presented. Also I don't see anything wrong with a bit of vanity in a society which puts most of us down so much!

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  3. Love this post. I agree that for bloggers selfies are our business in a way. I can also understand from personal experience that selfies serve so many functions. We've all been jealous of a boyfriend's ex's gorgeous selfie, been inspired as you say, document an occasion, remember what we looked like at events or who we were with. I think selfies are so multi - faceted it would be naive to say someone hates them. Thought provoking post!

    Lauren from Lauren Loves Blog x

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  4. Love this post. I agree that for bloggers selfies are our business in a way. I can also understand from personal experience that selfies serve so many functions. We've all been jealous of a boyfriend's ex's gorgeous selfie, been inspired as you say, document an occasion, remember what we looked like at events or who we were with. I think selfies are so multi - faceted it would be naive to say someone hates them. Thought provoking post!

    Lauren from Lauren Loves Blog x

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  5. There's no doubt that all selfies have a hint of narcissism - even an 'ugly' selfie is designed to get comments and interaction etc - but I don't think thats necessarily a bad thing. Maybe if people start getting carried away and photoshopping everything they put on their instagram, but at the end of the day its not any more self indulgent than writing a tweet saying what you're up to or a facebook status about your feelings - nothing in a social media world is put out there to be ignored!

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  6. I don't mind selfies, I think they are pretty fun and I love seeing the pictures that people share online!

    Maria xxx

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