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Saturday, January 11, 2014

The Selfie Culture Deflates Our Essence


There’s one word I wish we could remove from our lexicon. No it’s not “twerking,” or “tweeting,” though each is worthy of exclusion from the English language. It’s “selfie.”

Since cameras have been invented (dates back to early mid-1800s), people have used the camera to have pictures taken of themselves. Once cameras were small and light enough, people would hold them up and snap pictures of themselves. Others would place the camera on a table, put a five-second timer on, and take a photo. Now people use cellphones to take pics of themselves, sometimes in various stages of undress, for sexting purposes. The term, “selfie,” has come into vogue the last year or two, but it seems to reveal little.

A lot of art is a selfie. Creative types share their views of the world through their medium, whether it’s art, dance, film, singing, or theater. They often feature themselves as their subject matter. Look at newspaper columnists, poets, and book authors. And bloggers. They are all selfies. We live in a selfie culture.

So many books are ego or selfie driven. Memoirs, advice books, and philosophy stem from ourselves. Further, most novels are based on our lives, select life experiences or our own dreams and imiaginations. The “self” is never far removed from the books we create.

Social media is perfect for the selfie lifestyle. Throughout the day and night, via words, sounds, and images, we can express ourselves about ourselves across the globe. We Tweet, therefore we are. Eventually, technology will allow us to taste, smell, and touch others, only to add to our selfie frenzy. Imagine if we could preserve the smells or tastes of childhood? Imagine building up a collection of self-centered, sense-oriented experiences and then forever sharing with anyone willing to witness your ego-centric expressions.

Self-publishing doesn’t just stand for one publishing their own book. It often stands for the subject matter too. Everyone believes they have a story to tell – and they will spare no resource or opportunity to tell it. I’m all for self-publishing, but it does seem that self-published books skew heavily to the self.

Where would we be if the words “I,” “my,” “me,” and “mine” were never used? Social media, publishing, and art would not exist. My blog wouldn’t exist. Just admit it – as a society we are a group of individuals shouting at each other about ourselves, seeking meaning and definition in the metrics of our media. We may have become meaningless in the process.

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Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer, Media Connect, the nation’s largest book promoter. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at brianfeinblum@gmail.com. He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2014.

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