A selfie to change the world

We’ve all done it. Getting ready for a night out, checking how we look in the mirror. Hair done right? Check. Clothes looking good? Check. Looking nonchalant enough? Check. Now we need to add the all important selfie. Confused? Why, a selfie is simply a photograph of oneself in an arm-extended posture, and it’s a craze that’s sweeping the globe.

By Andy Copland

Changing the world one selfie at a time
Fifteen or so years ago the last step of this process wouldn't have been necessary. Today we have to make sure that the lighting is right, strike a pose, and in a couple of seconds all of our social media contacts can see how amazing we look.

The importance of this practice has been recognised by the world, not just through the recent decision to include ‘selfie’ in the Oxford dictionaries, and name it 2013's word of the year, but also through the importance of the selfie within advertising culture.

Celebrities + selfie = success. Using celebrities to advertise products is one of the oldest tricks in the book. Celebrities give brands a ‘face’ and help promote sales towards customers that may not necessarily know or buy the product yet. But it's more than just a marketing ploy; it may change the future of the brand forever.

Twitter allows anyone to have an unprecedented degree of contact with celebrities. We can now keep up with any aspect of our favourite celebrity's life, including the type of products they use.

The selfie has an important role to play with the general public as well. From unintentional snapshots of a coke can in the background, to friends ‘snapchatting’ their trip to McDonalds, advertising via selfies is everywhere.

So why has the selfie become such a phenomenon in such a short amount of time? Well, the iPhone 4 has a part to play in that. It introduced a camera at the front of the phone, instead of the back, making it easier for people to take pictures of themselves. Since that fateful day, a camera on the front of the phone, as opposed to the back, has become a stable feature of pretty much every phone on the market.

The big question that plagues all social media platforms and practices applies to selfies too. Is it worth sharing?

From YouTube to Vine and Twitter, whenever we create something we have to ask ourselves if it is worth sharing at all. Most of the time we’ll say "Yes, of course it's worth sharing, that’s why I made it in the first place." What we don't realise is that this attitude is bringing on new trends in the marketing world.

Advertising and marketing have always aimed to show that their product improves people’s lives. Now more than ever the idea that ‘if you want it hard enough you can get it’ is becoming reality. Andy Warhol famously said that “In the future, everyone will be world-famous for fifteen minutes.” It would seem that everyone is famous for a split second instead.

The selfie states something about self-exposure and control. The fact that a celebrity would chose to have a certain product in their photo means more to audiences than seeing George Foreman being paid to represent a set of grills. The celebrity selfie at least creates the illusion of authenticity, whereas outright paid celebrity endorsement is turning into a thing of the past.

Whilst many would claim that taking one too many selfies is rather narcissistic, others would argue that it is akin to writing down your thoughts in a diary. The selfie is a form of instant, but expressive communication with your social peers, and it’s a market that the advertising world has already started to exploit.

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Stone Junction is a cool technical PR agency based in Stafford. We work for all sorts of businesses, with a particular focus on technology, technical and engineering companies. We like being sent cake and biscuits by clients, journalists and prospects.

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