The selfie craze started with the growth in popularity of Instagram. This photo-sharing site enables you to choose a filter to transform the look and feel of a self-image posted from your smart phone to Instagram or other social media networks.
President Obama made headlines when he took a selfie of himself, Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt and British Prime Minister David Cameron at Nelson Mandela’s funeral.
Selfies can serve a purpose in presenting yourself to the public, but there are guidelines you should follow, like not taking one of yourself at a memorial service.
Selfies are popular because you can quickly post one to a social network, garnering likes and retweets so that your image goes viral. These images can show your more personal side. Your readers or customers will enjoy seeing the face behind the product or service. It’s a way to establish a deeper personal connection. For fun, we asked a few friends to take selfies of themselves and they are posted in this collage.
Selfies have become particularly popular among entertainers. The actor James Franco weighed in with his take in a bylined article in The New York Times headlined the Meaning of the Selfie in which he said, “We all have different reasons for posting them, but, in the end, selfies are avatars: Mini-Me’s that we send out to give others a sense of who we are.”
Celebrities attending the recent Grammy Awards flooded Instagram with selfies. Online sites like the Today Show had a running stream of star selfies as they were being posted during the awards program.
If my friends were willing to snap selfies of themselves, then I had to take the plunge. Here I am in a selfie with my husband and business partner, Richard, and our dog, Romeo. I love animals, which is something personal that you might not have known about me.
Now you know that I own an 8-year-old Coton de Tulear. I also have two cats, Sammy, a Russian Blue, and Murray, an orange tabby. Both cats were adopted from Bide-a-Wee in New York. I’m always happy to share dog and cat stories!
Rules of the Game
Here are a few simple tips about taking and posting a selfie on a social media network.
You can find more tips at wikiHow.
- Pick a good location. Selfies are usually taken spur-of-the-moment but do seek out a well-lighted area that isn’t too cluttered. As Chris McGinnis of Travel Skills told me, “LIGHT!! You must have very good light for good iPhone photos.” You don’t want your image to get lost in a sea of flowers or busy wallpaper. Be sure you’re not wearing what I call a “light crown.” By that I mean don’t stand under a light fixture that looks like it’s sitting on your head.
- Be respectful. It isn’t appropriate to take a selfie at a solemn event like a religious service or to steal the thunder of the bride and groom by taking a selfie with a flash during the wedding ceremony. Plenty of time for that at the reception. And don’t secretly take a selfie of someone behind you. That’s invading their privacy.
- Share something about yourself. If you’re posting a selfie to Instagram, Twitter, Facebook or Tumblr, why not add commentary about yourself, where you are, and what you’re doing? Reveal something new about yourself and ask your followers to share it with their friends or business colleagues.
- Use selfies for business. No reason why you can’t take some selfies at your trade show booth next to the product you’re exhibiting. Use professional lighting, if available. Post your selfies to the show’s Twitter hashtag. Invite visitors to your booth to take a selfie and post it to the hashtag or their own social networks.
- Edit your selfies. Selfies really took off with the launch of Instagram because you can add special effects within Instagram. You can make yourself look even better if you have editing software.
- Protect your reputation. Even an informal selfie is still a representation of you and your brand. It isn’t wise to wear suggestive clothing or take selfies in situations that reflect poorly on your image. Enough said.
Have you taken selfies? Did you find that they increased your likes, +1s and retweets? Wonder how many selfies singers Beyoncé, Taylor Swift and other show biz stars have taken to boost their popularity? Celebrities use selfies to evaluate what people like by what they share. It’s informal market research that is another reason to give selfies a try.