Selfie photographs are not new. It is only recently that self portraitures emerged as a global phenomenon. Historically, self portraits were usually produced by the elite and revered. Fancy pants people who were adored, from artists to politicians. Now, anyone with a smartphone can be instantly zapped into stardom with just a selfie stick and a click.
Google estimates that roughly 24 billion selfies were taken in one year alone. A quick hashtag search for #selfies will yield you over 342 million post results on Instagram.
It’s no doubt we are living in a selfie-nation.
In my work, I most often come across three types of people: the selfie lovers, the dabblers, and then there’s people like me who hate the idea of being in photos. It’s why I spent years BEHIND the camera instead of in front of it.
Over the years, I’ve embraced a new idea. As the woman behind Project She Went For Her Dreams, a global brand that champions this movement of building a legion of confident women in business, I knew that I had to stop hiding behind my work and start being the face of it.
I was inspired by my mentor and many other countless women change-makers who unapologetically capture themselves in a good ‘ol fashioned selfie every now and then while giving absolutely no fucks about what others think of them while doing so.
And isn’t that what stops many of us? The fact that we care a little too much about what others think of us. There’s a little voice in our head that says, who am I to post this photo of myself? And another voice that says, who do you think you are, some sort of celebrity? Or we may buy into this false sense of humility, that shames us for daring to tie our name and face to the work that we do.
This is a problem I see mostly as women, while the men of our time have no issues being front and center of their work and accomplishments.
Without going too deeply into the social conditioning and systemic challenges women face as it relates to being seen and credited for their work, we can all agree that self promotion has always been a tough nut to crack for women.
I’m in favor of women amplifying their professional platforms and with that building mediums of expression and communication -- including the selfie. Selfies have an incredible ability to create a magnetizing power. Whether snapshots taken “on the go” or posed and non-spontaneous, the visual aesthetic of a person captured in their essence, helps us create an understanding of ourselves and establishes our existence to those around us.
In a world where we are our own brand builders, here’s a few statements that make the case for selfies as a brand advantage.
Selfies are a form of self expression
Selfie’s build trust
Selfies humanizes you
Selfies are an extension of your career
Selfies are a form of reputation management where you can control how you are perceived
Selfies can be empowering and encourage motivation and online support
Selfies, while they can be used as a form of self expression, they can also be dangerous forms of validation and sources of approval that if mishandled can drain you of all self esteem.
"The key is to make sure you avoid the psychological pitfalls. If you’re so keen to promote your ‘brand’ that you start to become reliant on likes and validation as a key to your success and if you just identify yourself as a brand, your self-esteem can become solely based on your pictures. You relinquish your control to people you don’t know and negative comments can be very hard to deal with." - Dr. Aaron Balick, Psychotherapist.
If you have a service, a mission, a cause you believe in, are an activist, a change-maker, thought leader, and have a message you want to get out to the world, make selfies a vibrant part of how you express that yourself and grow your platform.
Now I'm off to lunch to grab lunch at a beautiful Mediterranean bistro in midtown. The spicy shrimp risotto looks amazing. But first, let me take a selfie.