Safe Selfies

Over the last few months I’ve read articles and listened to news stories about people getting injured, dying, or even damaging things while taking selfies.  A number of museums, amusement parks (e.g. DisneyLand), and national monuments have all started banning selfie taking and using selfie sticks to help reduce injury, death, and damage.  Sometimes it’s a matter of public safety since bystanders are often poked or hit with selfie sticks.  Russia recently announced a “Safe Selfie” campaign and created a guide to instruct people on how to take selfies without harming yourself or others.

Once again, I just have to shake my head and wonder why taking selfies is so popular?  Is it for the attention?  Or maybe to “memorialize” a moment by snapping a pic of yourself doing something?  To be competitive? Personally, I think if somebody dies taking a selfie because they’re on a train track or in the middle of a bull run, that’s just natural selection in action.  It’s really not necessary to post ads cautioning these poor, dumb souls.

Recently I saw an advertisement for a selfie spoon from Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal.  The selfie spoon is a selfie stick with a spoon at on one end.  This is to solve the dilemma of either taking a selfie or eating your breakfast.  Whether this is a gag or reality, I feel sad thinking about the time and energy invested into memorializing somebody shoving a spoonful of sugary, bad quality cereal into his/her maw.  Gross.  One guy even crafted his own selfie spoon so we could see him chowing down his grandmother’s gumbo.

The most interesting part of the selfie spoon is it’s a way to get ordinary people to advertise Cinnamon Toast Crunch, or any food, for free.  Lots of companies already harvest data from millions of readily available selfies.  Then they analyze the data to learn about customers and how their brand is used.

This raises concerns for me about the prevalence and availability of selfies on social media and the internet in general.  Publicly posted selfies may end up being used in ways that were never anticipated or expected. I’m not sure what those ways are yet, but I’m sure we’ll find out in the near future.

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