A photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically one taken with a smartphone or webcam and uploaded to a social media website. Oxford Dictionary
It is just not possible for anyone alive today to have missed the growth of the selfie phenomenon. Selfies have become a key component of our interconnection in the on-line age. They place us in time and space, and present a curated version of ourselves to the world.
While tweens, teenagers and young adults have mastered the art of selfies by taking and sharing thousands of them, I’ve noticed that slightly…ahem…older people are now tending to share selfie pics too. And this is happening particularly frequently while they are travelling.
I have to confess, in a ‘if you can’t beat them, join them’ move, I too have been guilty of taking and sharing several selfies on recent travels. This has had mixed results, but I’ve learned from my experiences. So, for other middle-aged travellers wanting to jump on the selfie bandwagon, I’ve put together some hints about travel selfies you should never share.
1. Selfies shot from below
Queenie and I thought it would be fun to take a duo-selfie with the Statue of Liberty photobombing over our shoulders. Obviously, the only way to shoot this, is by holding the phone down and pointing it up to Lady Liberty. The golden rule of selfies? NEVER, ever, ever shoot a selfie from below. When I posted the end result on Facebook with the caption, “Still working on the selfies...“, my mother swiftly commented back, “I wouldn’t if I were you – it shows too many wrinkles.” Thanks, Mum. My fragile selfie-esteem was shattered. I’m still recovering.
2. Smiling selfies in inappropriate locations
There’s some locations that are really not appropriate backdrops for smiling selfies. A young high school graduate from Alabama recently found this out the hard way when she shared a smiling selfie taken in Auschwitz. Not only did her photo go viral, she was subjected to thousands of hate-tweets and worldwide media attention. Concentration camps, cemeteries, war memorials, sites of disasters…not places to take or share a smiling selfie.
3. Selfies while you’re still in the moment
Take a quick selfie while you’re bungy jumping, or watching the New Year’s Eve fireworks, or white-water rafting down the Zambezi River, by all means. But wait until afterwards to share it to social media. You look shallow, vain and self-absorbed if you do it in real time.
The exception to this is sporting events. Most of them are so freaking boring and go on for sooooo long that sharing selfies is the only reasonable way to get through them. 🙂
4. Incriminating selfies
What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas…or so the saying goes. But if you’ve already posted selfies during a big night out…it doesn’t stay in Vegas. It goes right around the world. Take a moment before you share those ‘hilarious’ selfies. Will you still want your family, friends and work colleagues back home to see those in the morning?
5. High-life selfies
If you have the good fortune to be flying in the first-class cabin, or to be staying in the Presidential Suite of a six-star hotel, stop with the selfies. Those of us down the back of the plane in cattle-class are a jealous and vengeful mob (and there’s a lot more of us than you). No-one like a boaster. (But take note…should I ever have this good fortune, I will be selfie-ing my way to oblivion. It would be my civic duty to show you all what it looks like, and how good I look being there.)