I’ve very much enjoyed following today’s news that ‘selfie’ has been named Oxford Dictionaries’ 2013 word of the year. What I’ve enjoyed even more, however, is digesting all of the negative commentary about selfies that has ensued.
In The Guardian Jonathan Freedland says, ‘Not for nothing is the word just a breath – a mere “sh” – away from selfish.’ In The Telegraph Emma Barnett adds, ‘The selfie might be the word of the year but it’s never going to win big in the honesty stakes nor as a decent record of who we really are.’ From the reaction to the news across social media channels, I can only imagine how many people are currently removing all traces of this kind of self-portrait photography from their networks for fear of being criticised. And, in the real world, I can almost hear that bloke somewhere out there disingenuously asking ‘What’s a “selfie”?’ when the topic comes up in the pub tonight, just after he has ‘checked-in’ at the bar and shared a picture of his pint to the world via Instagram.
I for one am throwing my hat into the ring in support of the selfie. Actually I’m not even sure if what I am attempting to endorse is best described as a ‘selfie’. Perhaps what I want to celebrate in the ‘group selfie’. The group selfie actually isn’t selfish, it’s inclusive. The group selfie captures good times and it does so with a touch of intimacy in every shot. I love group selfies.
Becoming a fairly recent fan of the group selfie means that I have loads of up-to-date photos of my son and me together, which, given our situation, I wouldn’t otherwise have. Not becoming a fan of the group selfie quite soon enough, however, means there are very few photos of the two of us with my late wife. And now every single time I look at a shot that depicts my son alone, I wish I’d be ‘selfish’ enough to make it a group selfie instead. I wish that every single shot I’d ever taken was a group selfie of the three of us. It may have felt far too self indulgent to take selfies at the time, but somehow I don’t think it would feel like that if I were able to flick through a pile of them right now.
This is syndicated content from Life as a widower
Content reproduced with the kind permission of Benjamin Brooks-Dutton
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