The sooner the term “selfie” goes away, the sooner we can all stop talking like 1985 Valley Girls.
Full disclosure: I’ve never taken a “selfie.” I’ve taken pictures of myself, but certainly not many, at least until I can discover the right angle to limit the lens flare from atop my head. Never a “selfie.”
Since when did we succumb to Cher Horowitz’s vocabulary?
I watched the Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Awards with my son Saturday night. You know that scene in “The Fifth Element” where we’re introduced to a terrified Milla Jovovich, who has no clue about her unfamiliar surroundings? That was me trying to get a handle on pop culture for the young crowd, a feat that’s already hard enough for me when it comes to what your average force-fed adult considers entertainment. But in between the slime and the accolades (I’d tell you that Benjamin Flores, Jr. got robbed if I knew who Benjamin Flores, Jr. was), the “selfie” was omnipresent. On stage. In the audience. On my couch when the boy asked his mother what a “selfie” was, prompting her to borrow my phone and capture the moment.
If I fail as a parent, I’ll always look back on that moment.
But the free world goes gaga over “selfies” as most evidenced by Ellen DeGeneres’ ego-filled snapshot at last month’s Oscars, which wound up as the most retweeted tweet in the history of tweets, which sort of says something about the “selfie” target audience. Of course, that moment came with some controversy on the corporate level. DeGeneres took the photo with a Samsung Galaxy S5, but in real-life, reportedly uses an iPhone, exposing the whole moment as a marketing ploy. Jeez. Remember when the Academy Awards used to be about the sanctity of the ceremony?
OK, not likely. Still, staging a compensated moment at the Dolby Theater is one thing. At the White House, with the president, is something else entirely.
It’s not like the ceremony honoring the 2013 World Series champion Boston Red Sox on the White House lawn Tuesday was a sacrosanct moment, but if Samsung is determined to overshadow the Sox’ moment in the DC sun then what’s next? Is LeBron James going to take a “selfie” with the Pope during Mass at St. Peter’s with the new Galaxy Admire 2? Maybe they can sponsor a funeral the next time. I shudder to think of all the delivery room snapshots we’re going to get from sponsored athletes, all in the name of Samsung.
It was David Ortiz’s “selfie” of himself and Barack Obama that blew up Twitter on Tuesday, with the photo receiving 38,503 retweets from his own account @davidortiz, and another 387 from @SamsungMobileUS, which has 5.26 million followers in relation to Ortiz’s 633,000.
Oh, and it just so happens that Ortiz inked a deal with the cell phone company on Monday to become a social media insider. First stop, the White House. Leave it to Ortiz’s ego – and wallet – to find a way to upstage Johnny Gomes’ ‘Merica statement.
“We were thrilled to see the special, historic moment David Ortiz captured with his Galaxy Note 3 during his White House visit,” the company said in a statement. “It was an honor to help him capture such an incredible and genuine moment of joy and excitement. Similar to the selfie Ellen was able to capture during the Oscars, this was an opportunity for David to share the incredible moment with his fans.”
Hang on. Did Samsung really use the word “genuine” in its response? The moment was about as bona fide as the Grade A meat in Hot Pockets. I mean, if there is indeed any purpose of the “selfie,” it’s about capturing something impromptu. For about four seconds, the Ortiz photo seemed to have that feel to it. Until someone in the crowd of Red Sox players and personnel elicited a “cha-ching” as the photo was being taken. One day in and making his money already for Samsung. When does he demand an extension?
“When we heard about the visit to the White House, we worked with David and the team on how to share images with fans. We didn’t know if or what he would be able to capture using his Note 3 device.”
Like, gag me with a spoon, will ya?
While there’s not really an awful lot to get worked up about here, Samsung’s and Ortiz’s blatant exploitation of a situation that was supposed to be an honor for everyone that contributed shows a certain amount of disregard. The cell phone company was only so pleased to tell everyone everywhere that the photo was snapped with a Note 3, and Ortiz was only happy enough to provide his new sponsors with immediate material. And today, all any Red Sox fan is talking about is the “selfie.” Gomes’ jacket is not too pleased.
“Selfies” satisfy our obsessions with our two favorite things: technology and ourselves. For cell phone companies, they’re about as easy to market as a sunny day at the beach. Take photo, tweet photo, hey…that’s a Samsung that darned took that there photo. Run to Best Buy.
“Selfie.” It was even Oxford Dictionary’s Word of the Year in 2013. Some of the others over the years though include “squeezed middle” (2011), “refudiate” (2010), and “hypermilling” (2008), so we can only hope it will eventually go the way of those and the dodo. For sure.
Totally. To the max.