Selfie Craze: The Downsides

Hare taking a selfie

Taking selfies is all that everyone seems to be doing now. This craze has in many ways now started defining an entire generation of people. There are entire businesses and even handset lines built around people’s need to take selfies. On the face of it, it looks like a harmless thing, but there are serious downsides to this trend. Let us try and look at this today.

Hare taking a selfie

The world is very busy trying to make lives better. We are looking at large scale cloud adoption by enterprises, we are on the verge of IoT improving our lives and taking charge of the mundane for us, artificial intelligence is already part of many aspects of our lives online and offline. We are looking at large scale electric and autonomous vehicle adoption. When read all the stuff mentioned here it feels great, but then that is just one aspect of the story. There is another side of all this frenzy that is also worth discussing – The Selfie Craze!

Never before has a generation so diligently documented itself doing nothing said someone on the internet and like all internet quotes, it will be futile to try a find the original author of that quip. But then it does ring true. Anyone who has a smartphone with a camera, which actually a lot of people, keeps churning pictures of themselves at an alarming pace. Very frankly, I worry if there will be enough storage left in the world if we keep going at this pace. There are a variety of selfies – ones taken in the bathroom take the cake if you ask me. Why would you want to stand in your or any other bathroom with your phone and take a picture of yourself? Why? The selfie industry has also given birth to strange things like airport fashion and even university courses teaching people the fine art of taking selfies that are perfect. This is now beyond an obsession, it is an integral part of everything. And the way humans are changing when a front camera is pointed at them is beyond reason if you ask me.

People who are energetic young professionals become cartoonic caricatures of themselves. The trend of putting one’s tongue out and looking totally ridiculous is something that I grapple to understand clearly. It is right on top with “Why can’t I wake up late on weekend mornings?” if you ask me.

Mobile device makers are making hay (and devices) while the sun shines. They are busy churning out seriously underwhelming phones which have just one thing to give you – a selfie camera! It would be very apt to call them cameras that can make calls and not phones with cameras. The concerning part of this development is that some of the selfie centered phones that are made for self centered people is the fact that the makers are pushing phones with processors that the chip makers themselves are expressing concerns about.

But let’s not digress here, what I have said above could be easily dismissed as biased guy ranting or an uninformed blogger pissed because he doesn’t get enough units to review. Here’s where the whole thing gets way too serious. There are actual people who are dying, yes you got that right, dying in the process of taking selfies of themselves doing really crazy things. There are horrible cases where someone tried to take a selfie with a gun and ended up killing themselves. There are instances where a selfie was attempted in front of buses or trains and people got run over. There are also insensitive people who have taken selfies with dead people and posted them on social media to get “likes”

The craze to document ourselves doing inane or meticulously ridiculous things on camera and actually share them on various forums or fora as they are called is now taking a serious turn and becoming something of a pop culture movement. As long as it is harmless, it is all fine but there are downsides and they are bound get more complicated with VR and AR taking center stage going forward. I am not vehemently decrying it as an evil, there a fringe cases where it has done a lot of harm to people, what I am saying is that we need to think where we are going with this thing now.

Let me know what you think.


About Shakthi

I am a Tech Blogger, Disability Activist, Keynote Speaker, Startup Mentor and Digital Branding Consultant. Also a McKinsey Executive Panel Member. Also known as @v_shakthi on twitter. Been around Tech for two decades now.

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