Selfie Awareness

 Taking a quick selfie break from writing this blog post.

Taking a quick selfie break from writing this blog post.

I shamelessly love taking selfies. 

My fascination extends far beyond the recent for-lack-of-a-better-phrase "selfie craze." When I was four, my first few polaroids were self-portraits. I've even taken a selfie every single day so far this summer (today marks day 77). The reasons are numerous. Each one is an outlet. They're a form of positive affirmation. Plus, a clever one can show others a little bit about what I'm working on and where I've been - the inside scoop into my creative process. 

Granted, not everyone agrees. The main argument against selfies always revolves around how narcissistic, boring, cringe-worthy and pointless/stupid/ugh-inducing they are. Recently, when a teen took a controversial selfie at Auschwitz concentration camp, public backlash was immediate. However, context was everything, as the girl was memorializing her father's death with a photo by visiting the place they last read about together. As Jennifer Outllette puts it in her book Science of Self, "(Selfies are) an attempt to place oneself in a context, to understand how we fit into a bigger picture." Especially outside of my generation, I am an outsider because I, like so many others, dare to love myself in this way. These reactions reflect a subtle shift in how media affects what we consider "normal." 

For example, when I paused writing this post to take this selfie, nearly everyone in my office glanced over. A few guffaws, laughs and even one "OMG really?" came my way. 

  The most notorious selfie of all time

The most notorious selfie of all time

Normally, I'm too committed to lighting and getting a great shot to notice.  

Interactions like these left me wondering what exactly can selfies teach us about PR strategy? For starters, they're great networking tools. Just ask Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ), who aims to snap one with each of his 99 colleagues. They're also great ice breakers for new clients and contacts alike. Selfies are currently at the center of digital strategy (Ellen's Oscars stunt was estimated to be valued as high as $1 billion). Recent studies have suggested that they increase self-esteem, and we all know that a happy practitioner is a more productive practitioner. Plus, they're always super fun at parties. 

I'm already prepared for the sighs and giggles when I take tomorrow's selfie, but I won't be ashamed. Despite the abundance of flimsy arguments against them, I know that the act is not one of self-validation, but one of appreciation of the world around me. 

Plus, my selfies are the farthest from forgettable. 

Tommy McPhail