Recently I had gone on a trip to Nainital with a couple of old friends from college. One of them had come from US and among his American goodies was a selfie-stick. He had thought that the concept of selfie stick was still unfamiliar in India. To his amazement and honestly, to our amazement too, Nainital seemed to be all about selfies and selfie sticks.
From footpath-wala bhaiyaa to upmarket electronic shops, selfie sticks were selling like hot cakes. And to my American friend’s utter disappointment, at the fraction of the cost he had bought it for. All across the Mall Road you could find tourists taking selfies, with or without selfie sticks. In fact, our cab guy used to halt the car at specific locations during our sightseeing tour, “madam, idhar aap log selfie le lo, acchi aayegi”. For one moment it actually felt that the trip was one-long selfie sojourn!
Thanks to our camera-enabled smartphones, we have become the selfie-generation. We love to be clicked, we love to show off and we love to share on social media. And brands are lapping up this trend.
In 2014, from NaMo to NatGeo, everybody had their own selfie story.
Cut to 2016. From the simple “use our product, post a selfie”, brands are exploring the selfie syndrome further.
Amazon filed a patent application for a process that would allow shoppers to make a purchase by taking a photo and/or video of themselves rather than keying in their account password. The application aims to make it safer for shoppers to buy something online by relying on images of themselves instead of a password, which can be hard to remember and dangerous when stolen.
ChocolateSelfie’s entire business model is based around selfies. The mobile app allows consumers to print, with edible ink, photographic-quality images onto chocolate products, such as lollipops and chocolate bars.
OPPO F1 Plus partnered with ‘YouWeCan’ Foundation to launch a charity campaign called – “Game On, Selfie On”, to raise awareness about cancer and facilitate cancer screening.
And selfies are not only being used by brands for promotion but are also furthering social causes.
Transgender North Carolinians took selfies to take a stand against the state’s controversial anti-transgender bathroom law. Following the tragic Orlando shooting, same-sex couples shared PDA selfies using the hashtag #TwoMenKissing and #TwoWomenKissing as a direct action against the homophobia connected to the attack at Pulse gay nightclub.
So accept it or not, selfies have become an ingrained part of our social milieu.
I still remember the big fat camera which my dad had gifted mom as a wedding gift and which was part of all my childhood vacations. It was packed with extra precautions and my mom had it next to her throughout the train journey, lest somebody stole it from her. Our trips would be incomplete without going to the studio and getting the negatives converted. Several tea parties were organized for friends and relatives to come and see our vacation album.
My mom has come a long way from there. She now uses her smartphone and posts pictures on Facebook and WhatsApp in near real time.
We all have come a long way from there.
But first, let us take a selfie!
A selfie of our mad team on Diwali !