The Selfie: The Most Influential Image?
January 17, 2015
January 17, 2015
While reading up on all of 2014’s year end-lists and reviews, I came across one of my favorites, TIME Magazine’s Most Influential Images. As a huge fan of photography, I look forward to reviewing pictures from all different categories that made history this past year. However, one picture on the 2014 list stuck out to me. Slipped right in between the powerful imagery of Ferguson protests and the haunting mysteries of Maylasia Airlines Flight 17, lay the “selfie.”
Don’t get me wrong. I am guilty of taking a selfie or two every now and again, but I guess I’ve just never considered what a strong impact this new way of self-branding has made.
The selfie rose to stardom at the 2014 Academy Awards, where Ellen DeGeneres and the brilliant Samsung team took full advantage of the trend and snapped a selfie filled with some of Hollywood’s hottest celebs. After posting to her personal Twitter, Ellen’s selfie received over 1 million retweets in an hour, making it social-media’s most famous photo of all time. After considering this, I realized: How could the selfie not be on the list?
Businesses agree, and have been guilty themselves of feeding into the selfie-addiction. Samsung’s subtle advertising at the Academy Awards had huge rewards for the company’s brand awareness, as the phone became an international discussion. Ellen’s post was retweeted 2.8 million times over the course of a day, racing back President Barack Obama’s second term election record.
Another example of capitalizing on the selfie trend is from Axe Deodorant. The company launched an International Peace Day inspired campaign, called #kissforpeace, asking participants to capture themselves kissing with Axe products. Customers swarmed to eye-catching locations with that special someone, with the hopes of a unique selfie catching the eyes of Axe’s marketing team, and the chance to become social-media famous.
This idea of becoming social-media famous also received some back-lash in 2014. Another campaign for Wheat Thins, featuring a chance to receive a personalized selfie from Kelly Osbourne, left the popular chip brand looking as some might call it, “pathetic.” Not as many social media-crazed users jumped at the opportunity to receive a selfie, and opted for the free Wheat Thin giveaway instead. To me, this just proves a point: people love taking selfies. The concept of receiving one isn’t nearly as appealing.
I understand why the selfie was featured in TIME Magazine’s 10 Most Influential Images list. Everyone wants to be known for something—including brands. The selfie has become the easiest and most effective way to capture yourself in whatever light you want to shine. The craze has become a huge part of today’s social-focused world, and it deserves to be recognized.