Sharing our private lives has never been so public. Matter-of-fact, in our ‘Instagram, Twitter and Facebook’ kind of world, over-sharing is a way of life.
Everyday, I watch friends and strangers post pictures of their family, food, festivities, fashions, pets, plants and professions. But, what I see most on social media? Selfies.
Unadulterated, I love me some me! Aren’t I fabulous?! Selfies. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not judging. I’m just as guilty. After all, self love, self adoration and total self involvement isn’t wrong, is it? I guess it depends on how you do it.
The Urban Dictionary describes a Selfie as: “A picture taken of yourself that is uploaded to a social networking website. You can usually see the person’s arm holding out the camera, in which case, you can clearly tell that this person does not have any friends to take pictures.”
The Oxford Dictionary, which just added the word Selfie this month, defines it as: “A photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically one taken with a smart phone and uploaded to a social media website.” It ads cheekily, “Occasional selfies are acceptable, but posting a new picture of yourself everyday isn’t necessary.”
Needless to say, living on this ‘#Iluvmesomeme, never-ending cycle of shameless self promoting’ planet, got me to thinking. How in the name of Steve Jobs does a person take #ThePerfectSophisticatedSelfie? How does one appear fetching and fabulous without seeming completely and utterly narcissistic and annoying?
I have an idea, but frankly, we all lie to ourselves, about ourselves. Some more than others. Especially when it comes to posting pictures. So, I thought perhaps it would be better to ask “the experts.” You know, people who actively participate in social media, all day, everyday – journalists.
I carefully selected a handful of co-workers from Channel 7 News and Deco Drive. The group consisted of editors, producers and on-air talent. I talked to them in the hallway, the make-up room and in the Deco-plex.
I chatted them up informally, on purpose (I find interview subjects better this way.) If someone is in their natural, laid back state, they tend to be more open and honest. (Note, most were either on their phones, had their phones in their hands, or were sitting at their computer, actively engaging in some sort of social media.)
Before I got to the modern day self portrait thing, I warmed everyone up with the question: “What type of posting do you dislike most on social media?” Naturally, I thought everyone would say Selfies. They did and then some. There were A LOT of strong, opinionated responses. Here are the top five answers, along with follow-up thoughts.
1. “I hate to see people’s food.” (Unless it’s from a fabulous restaurant they themselves want to experience.)
2. “Stop posting constant pictures of your kids.” (A few now and then are okay, but for the most part, people seemed really annoyed by this.)
3. “I don’t care about your pet.” (There were no justifications for this answer. It was pretty cut and dry.)
4. “I don’t want to see pictures of you when you’re sick.” (Social media is in a sense ‘false advertising’ for how great life is ALL THE TIME. So, post things that make people happy. They don’t care what you’re really going through.)
5. “I hate Selfies.” (Mirrored Selfies, from the gym, annoyed my co-horts the most. They disliked ones in the bathroom, too. But what really got everyone’s goat, in general, was overt self centeredness. The me, me, me of it all. One person even said: “Frankly, I’m just tired of everything.”
*Honorable Mention: “I don’t want to see every second of your day.”
Okay, so … number five isn’t a bad place to be in the overall scheme of things. Perhaps there is hope for #ThePerfectSophisticatedSelfie. In order to get it right, though, you have to know what’s wrong. Here’s what constitutes a BAD Selfie (according to my poll):
1. If it’s taken too close.
2. Showing too much of your arm.
3. Bad lighting (no matter how cool you think it looks.)
4. Don’t use too many hashtags, or ones that don’t make sense.
5. Don’t post a kissy face!
*Honorable Mention: “Tell people to stop showing their pale-ass underarms and/or clothes that are streaked with white deodorant marks.”
Here are the top five things that make a GOOD Selfie:
1. Look great! This is a MUST.
2. The picture should NEVER look like a Selfie.
3. Good lighting.
4. Smile. It won’t kill you.
5. Do post a kissy face!
*Honorable Mention: “I like fashionable Selfies.” I had to pick this one. Shireen’s Favorite Things is a fashion blog.
How do you avoid the bad, use the good and take #ThePerfectSophisticatedSelfie? For this question, I narrowed the poll, asking only advanced social media users. (Meaning, people that have effectively mastered ‘The ITF Trio.’ That’s the use of Instagram,Twitter and Facebook. These expert, active users, are able to evoke non-stop, positive feedback. Steadily gaining more likes with each posting and not the ones you buy; the ones you earn.) Here are their top five tips:
1. Be interesting.
2. Have something to show off (besides yourself.) Like, say, the Eiffel Tower.
3. Don’t constantly post Selfies. This is a big no no! A part of being sophisticated is knowing a special moment and when that moment warrants an actual picture.
4. Try to capture your most beautiful self – always.
5. Respect your own PRIVACY and those around you.
*Honorable Mention: “Don’t post a Selfie where YOU look totally awesome and other people, friends, lovers, unsuspecting bystanders are in the background looking bad. That’s just wrong.”
During the writing of this blog, I thought it imperative to include one Channel 7 reporter in particular. He’s incredibly popular, smart, not to mention extremely savvy when it comes to social media. I told him he could remain anonymous, allowing him to be brutally honest and exceptionally forthcoming with his advice.
I explained to him that I wanted to ‘educate fashionistas’ on how to post the perfect Selfie. In fact, I wanted to take the blog to a whole ‘nother level, by teaching them how to post #ThePerfectSophisticatedSelfie. He liked the idea a lot and thought it was a conversation way overdue. His top five tips:
1. Diversify your photos.
2. Put thought and creative spirit into your postings.
3. Keep it positive.
4. Post quality pictures (avoid, if possible, blurry, half framed images.)
5. Polish the picture (with applications that enhance the picture, not take away from it.)
*Honorable Mention: “Don’t post too many things at the same time, people get social media fatigue and unfollow you.”
For the record, I’ve pretty much broken every rule that I’m writing about. I’ve tried on all types of social media styles and I’m still trying to find the perfect fit. I think, ultimately, moderation is the key when posting and following. Also, don’t take it personally if someone unfollows you AND if you think this is all a passing phase, well, I can’t help you there.
If you’re reading this, it’s because you’re on some sort of social media and you probably care, or you’re just curious, or perhaps you’re my mother and I emailed you my blog. Either way, being stylish, this day and age, isn’t just about dressing the right way, it’s about posting the perfect pictures of your life – with panache.
#ThePerfectSophisticatedSelfie try it, I bet people will like it.
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