When you normally think of a selfie, what do you imagine? A sweaty dude-bro, tank-top, flexing for the mirror? A dolled-up young woman driver-side, readying her duckface? Or YOU in front of something so cool you had to show it to all your friends? Which one of these selfies is bad, which is okay? All of them? None of them?
Here’s a thought. Selfies are innocent and, yes, completely and needfully defensible! Why? Because they’re speech acts that’s why. This argument is brought to you by the mind-orgasm that is the Idea Channel (I’m subscribed, you should be too!). And what’s a speech act? Well, if you haven’t skipped my long-winded introduction and gone straight for the video, let me try my definition. A speech act is a communicative (read: meaningful) utterance that says something either verbally, textually, or through body language.
A picture’s worth a thousand — and millions — upon millions — of words, right?
So when you take a selfie, what are you saying about that moment? Is it like a status update or performance? Why hate this necessary, maybe essential, communication strategy? Why hate technology that has allowed us to me-ify everything? Think of it this way. We, selfie takers, are doing what our ancestor — that person so long ago — did when she painted her hand against a rock in a cave. Her hand-print saying, I was here, and this is what I saw.