Industry Weapon Blog
The Selfie: The Digital Take on Selfishness
Remember the times when people didn’t know how to pose for pictures? When self-taken pictures weren’t identified as a selfie? When Photoshop and filters didn’t exist at the consumer level? No matter how unflattering the disposable camera photography of the past may be, it provides insight to the time when we were 100% awkward humans.
As much as I sometimes hate to admit it, I am a millennial. Ah, Generation Y, the publicly branded self-entitled, narcissistic, trophy kids of the 80’s and 90’s. We, however, experience plenty of hardships! Not only did we have to turn the disposable camera around and “point and guess” to take selfies, but then we were forced to wait at least a week to get them back! (Who had money to pay for 24 hour development?) Times were tough. (I’m keeping my fingers crossed you caught onto my slight sarcasm in this paragraph.) In 2014’s first quarter, Samsung and Apple sold a combined total of 128 million phones, all of which have front facing camera capabilities. Generation Z has it pretty easy.1
And as if my generation isn’t already on the path for being the most self-absorbed demographic of all time, our most “prevalent” celebrity, Kim Kardashian, goes and sets the bar a little higher:
“Kim is putting together a big book of selfies called “Selfish.” She said she was assembling sexy pictures of herself from a trip to Southeast Asia for a book to give to her newish husband, Kanye West, on Valentine’s Day. But then the thought occurred to her — why wouldn’t everyone want one?” 2
-Pepper Schwartz, University of Washington
Why wouldn’t everyone want a volume of one promiscuous selfie after another, intended for her husband’s eyes only? I can only guess that her logic is so twisted by whatever endorphins these vain famous-for-nothing celebrities run on. Hopefully consumers will be too consumed in their own Instagram and Twitter profiles to entertain the idea of purchasing one of these meaningless books.
Whether or not you agree with selfies (and the narcissistic characteristics that are typically associated with these frequent postings), you have to admit that they are here to stay. Generation Y has been exposed to the selfie for years now, and Generation Z never experienced living in a culture without them.
Embrace the Face
On a personal level, yes, it’s annoying to see our feeds fill up with the same “duck face” over and over again. But as organizational and brand leaders, why shouldn’t we embrace the selfie? It’s the perfect way to develop and publicize brand advocates at the same time.
Of course, this concept is not for everyone, but for industries like Retail, Education, Hospitality, Food and Beverage, and Gaming, it can be an effective way to engage customers, patrons, and students. These verticals can implement a hashtag campaign that allows customers to hashtag their selfies and upload to their personal Instagram. To make it easier, digital signage technology can take pictures from a kiosk then automate them to display on the signs. Retail customers can take personal photos of themselves with or wearing the brand’s product. On campuses, students can dress up in school colors and capture their school spirit. At hotels, patrons can snap their photos by the pool or in a scenic section of the lobby. Bars and restaurants can begin a “Wall of Fame” for customers who wish to tag themselves at the location. (Learn more about Increasing Your Selfie-Esteem.)
The selfie is popular for a reason; people like to see pictures of themselves. What more could people ask for than a way to see themselves on the screen almost instantaneously. I’m willing to say that the selfie gets a bad rep by those that abuse it. For the rest of us, they can be a fun and silly way to engage with others. And since the duck-face selfie on Instagram get 1,112% more engagement than regular ones,3 tell your patrons to pucker up those lips.
50% of Men and 52% of Women have admitted to taking a selfie.4
Industry Weapon’s Selfie Application can help you harness those numbers and provides a simple way to encourage interaction from your audience.
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