I had selfies on my mind all week so I naturally felt a little bit narcissistic. However, this assignment gave me a chance to reflect upon what they mean and what role they play in today’s society. I posted three selfies. They all were titled “selfie-expressions” with the first being simply “Selfie-Expressions” the second being “Selfie-Expressions pt. 2” and the last “Selfie Expressions pt. 3“. Check them out:) It was an enjoyable exercise to read other people’s posts as well. I feel like each week I get to know my classmates a little better although I don’t really know most of them at all. Ya’ll surprise me! (In a good way) I tried to comment on the posts that I really was able to relate to. Besides posting about the Selfie-Expressions I had a rant post about Grad School Apps where I kind of just broke down and complained about how drained I’m currently feeling. Luckily, (or unluckily) I have noticed many of my classmates in #en3177 have been having similar “down” feelings and have made posts about how to bounce back. Thanks Melissa and Erika!
The first, Part 1, was a reflection incorporating the Rettberg text. I learned how selfies can be used for many different purposes. They can portray you as something that you are- or perhaps something that you’re not- as Cindy Sherman often did. She said that she was “acting” and not taking self-portraits. My selfie was a picture of me in the Writing Resource Center where I am a writing consultant. This photo shows my professional side where I help others edit their papers. It was a really strange concept taking this picture because I had to use a self timer on my phone. I was semi-afraid that someone would walk into the WRC while I had my camera self-timer on posing for a picture. Here are some of the connotations analyzed in this picture: It was taken in the writing center because of this assignment but it also inspired a selfie that I ended up posting on Instagram. The Instagram version is interesting because it’s the same pose and it’s taken in the same place but it shows a completely different side of me. It’s edited, black and white, and uses the mirror camera effect. Why? Idk… I guess I felt it looked badass. The dress in both pictures is pretty conservative and professional but the Instagram version somehow looks more edgy. (Probably the editing.) The one on Selfie-Expressions has a happy ready-to-greet a client expression. The Insta version is less about greeting a client and more about facing off against oneself.
The second selfie post was all about my artistic/free-spirited side. I will say that this is the alter-ego to my professional demeanor. I posted a selfie of me and some friends at a music festival we went to last summer called Soundset. I was so amped up in this picture and it’s clear in mine, as well as my friend’s faces. There are people as far as the eye can see behind us which shows the huge amount of people having a good time at this music festival. I also included a snapshot of one of my most recent paintings. Why did I take the music festival pic? I remember that I originally posted it on Snapchat so I’m guessing the intention was to capture that moment of surreal fun. There was rain lightly misting but I wasn’t cold. There was an infectious energy as the thousands of people around us joined in the dance party. I remember looking up and seeing a haze of smoke. Closing my eyes, I could feel the bass bouncing under my feet and over my head. I felt free. Back to reality….
I really dug into Rettberg’s text Representation or Presentation article while posting these selfies. The tree example that Rettberg used was really familiar although I was never actually aware of the distinction between Signifier vs. Signified. It reminded me of a scene in the book/ or movie “The Fault in our Stars” by John Green. There’s a scene where the protagonist is wearing a shirt that has a smoking pipe printed on it with the words “this is not a pipe”. I always liked that example and the tree example is essentially the same thing. In The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life by Erving Goffman he noticed the way that we present ourselves differently to different people in different contexts. I pointed this out in my first post about Selfie-Expressions. Rettberg commented that in today’s society it’s harder and harder to keep social media life vs. face to life separate. I find this expecially noticeable when I get tagged in semi-unprofessional pictures on Facebook. I wake up after a crazy night and see ten FB notifications that I’ve been tagged in pictures. Oh no, I mumble to myself as I click on the unfortunate picture. I quickly untag myself and pray that my little old grandma hasn’t seen the picture of me doing a kegstand. To me, Snapchat and Instagram are the more “risqué” social media platforms and Facebook and Twitter are more family-friendly. What do you think?
LAST BUT NOT LEAST: Selfie-Expression pt. 3! Speaking of family friendly… this selfie showed off my family (the girls at least). I adore these girls and I thought it was appropriate to post a picture with them. I like myself the best when I’m with them because I know that they bring out the best in me. Zesty’s article raised a really interesting point that I thought of when posting this selfie.
Social media has afforded us a unique opportunity to build a very visible, permanent record of ourselves, albeit through a digital medium. It is, in a way (though many may argue against it), re-inventing the notion of identity, with far-reaching consequences. Not only is it providing the very tools to (re)create our identities, but it is also speaking to an innate human fear. That we’ll be forgotten by others and that our own memories will begin to fade, changing the person that we are. Throw Facebook into the mix however, and our problems seem to be solved. Here is a summation of our lives to this date, for as much as we want to share. And remember that we are just at the beginning since it’s a record of our identity for as long as social media has existed.
This is especially intriguing when thinking about selfies with family! I have many pictures from way back in the day with the same people. However, was I the same person? Biologically, yes. Emotionally, psychologically, and physically? Perhaps not! People change so much- especially under the age of 25. Zesty’s article helped me really analyze where I was five years ago and how pictures really capture that. Before there was facebook and social media I can go and look back into old photo albums to find out “who I used to be”. It’s so easy to forget things. We forget the memories… how we felt when the picture was taken, etc. When looking back at older picture it can take you back to that moment. Although this selfie was taken only last summer I already look different. In the picture my hair was bleach blonde and now it’s dark brown. However, when I see my expression it brings me back to that moment sitting on my sister Peyton’s bed back home. “Let’s take a selfie”, Peyton said enthusiastically. My mom was all for it and even brought out a “selfie stick” much to my embarrassment. Little Suzie didn’t want to be in the picture but I’m pretty sure I somehow convinced her. We were laughing because it was summer and we were all together…. Selfies may be partly about the self but I think they’re more about the memories associated with that picture.
And now to quickly comment on that Kendall Jenner pic Rettberg talked about! Hmmm… for one, Rettberg spelled “Kendall’s” name wrong. Come on Rettberg! 😛 Haha. Oh well, she did have some really interesting points about the most liked pic on Instagram. I actually ended up looking up this picture on Kendall’s insta to look at some of the comments. Rettberg said that there are two ways to analyze this picture. #1 being presentation and #2 being representation. When using presentation it’s the easiest to analyze it by looking at viewer’s comments. What were people’s responses? Why did Kendall post this? Hmm… here a few of the comments I found on the picture.
I guess everyone has noticed how many likes she got! She broke Insta! And she wasn’t even half naked! Go Kendall! I’ll wrap it all up with Rettberg’s slightly sarcastic comment about “Why the most liked pic on Insta is of a seemingly dead, wedding dress clad, virgin-esque Jenner.” Chew on that one eh