Selfies, Snapchat and Catbearding

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These are Selfies and along with Snapchat, Ask.fm and cat & dog bearding I’m getting more confused over what’s cool, what’s new and what’s just plain sad these days. We had to laugh on our trip to Italy when all the kids kept doing was taking “selfies” of themselves in the airport, on the plane, at the famous landmarks but appeared to fail to take in anything except themselves in the photo. Don’t think I’ll make a habit of it!

When I were ‘t lad you used to ask someone else to take your photo for you in front of a tourist attraction or as a group but now the kids are doing it non post-ironically ironically (I think) and do it at every possible opportunity. Most Facebook pictures are selfies and there is a growing trend for women to take naked or semi naked selfies to let others rate them and their bodies online. We seem obsessed with our physical attractiveness and what others think of our looks too as if it will make us happier – inevitably with things like ask.fm you tend not to always get the responses you had hoped for.

Then there’s Catbearding and newspaper splicing which take photos at angles to make interesting images. Catbearding and Dogbearding is when you position your pet looking up in front of your own face an take a photo so it looks like from your nose down you’re an animal, whereas splicing is the guy who takes photos on he underground of fellow commuters but puts up a folded newspaper to give them the head of a celebrity instead.

Trends are moving at such a pace these days you begin to lose track of the “latest” thing and too often it’s only a “thing” for a couple of weeks until people get bored with it. The ones that could have a lasting effect is asking others what they think of you online either via questions on ask.fm or using risqué selfies online or on Snapchat with people now able to screen-grab the images and then publish them. There is a lack of awareness that these images can be saved, shared and republished causing issues in everything fro your private life to job interviews.

I love technology and embrace much of it, but we seem to be inventing ways of getting ourselves into trouble as well as inviting others to troll us and make us feel bad. Here’s the thing you wouldn’t stand on the street corner naked and ask strangers what they think of you or get a wooden box and stand on it in your town square and invite everyone to ask you intimate questions would you? So why do we – and I mostly mean the teenagers and students using these things – allow ourselves to be in such an exposed, vulnerable position online. Young adults already struggle with judgement from others all the time and self harm and suicides are on the increase yet people are opening themselves up to heavy and unfiltered criticism by their choices and I worry that the more vulnerable in our society could be at risk.

I choose to open myself up on here in an emotional way so perhaps I don’t have the moral high ground on this one, but it’s something I consider very carefully more often than not and can edit if I realise I’ve overstepped or said something I regret later. Difference is very few people will take the time to read my posts and then have a go whereas with a photo it’s quick and easy. I hope I’m wrong about this and that people are making considered judgements, but I am concerned that people are opening themselves up to comments and offence that they maybe can’t handle.

JD

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