Writing for The Tab… but first let me take a #selfie
The selfie is central to the Cambridge experience
‘Selfie’ was named word of the year by Oxford Dictionaries in 2013. The Oxford English Dictionary is considering including it in future. How much more evidence do we need? The selfie is not annoying and not hopeless vanity – it is legitimately recognised.
How else are we supposed to document our new Cambridge experiences, if not with a selfie? Am I supposed to punt on the river Cam for the first time and not update my Instagram followers? If someone writes and essay but they don’t take a selfie with it, did they really write it at all?
The first phone to introduce the revolutionary front camera was the Sony Ericsson Z10Z10 in 2003, making all things selfie possible. We just need to log into a social network to see how far Sony has brought us.
Through Facebook, Twitter and Instagram we now attempt to manufacture the appearance of perfection to show off to our friends. Selfies are presented to make our lives appear more thrilling and, more importantly, to make our face appear more faultless. Through some careful angling, cutting an inch off an oversized forehead or avoiding capturing the spot on our chin sets the selfie apart from your standard snap.
The selfie has even infiltrated our day to day conversations. Texting is simply not cutting it anymore. A generation of smart phone users have taken text talk to the new level, instantly switching selfies via Snapchat. In May 2014 the app’s users were sending 700 million photos and videos per day.
Though the classic selfie is taken at arm’s length, the selfie stick has further revolutionised the selfie experience. I challenge anyone to defame the name of this progressive invention. It is not annoying, it is indispensable. It is not inconvenient, it is innovatory.
Unfortunately, multiple museums in New York have been banning the selfie stick to avoid damage to their artwork. We can only hope that the Fitzwilliam Museum does not get any ideas and damage our selfie experience closer to home. After all, how are we supposed to prove that we actually visited the Fitz if our face is not in the picture?
The selfie does not come without its struggles and setbacks. The fear of being caught taking a Snapchat selfie in public and the shameful moment when your phone sound is unexpectedly turned on haunts all selfie-takers. The lecture selfie is a particularly dangerous game – taking a picture of the poor turnout to your 9am lecture can make you to wish you hadn’t turned up at all.
But the selfie has become a part of our lives. From letting your friends know you #wokeuplikethis, to capturing that perfect champagne-spraying end-of-exams snapshot, the selfie is ever present.
Embrace the ‘selfie.’ It’s here to stay.