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Selfies do not substitute actual experiences


One could say the popularity of the selfie is growing, and based on the “TODAY” show series “Love Your Selfie” advocating self-confidence and Ellen DeGeneres’ famous celebrity-filled Oscar selfie that surpassed President Obama’s re-tweet record, it seems to have earned its own genre
in picture-taking. 

However, the trend is not without certain drawbacks on the part of the camera holder.

An unidentified student recently made headlines after a visit to Milan’s Academy of Fine Arts of Brera where the student thought it would be amusing to sit on the statue “Drunken Satyr,” a 19th century copy of a Greek original. In an attempt to take a selfie, the museumgoer accidentally broke off the statue’s leg. 

While serving as the prime example of what a group of young children are told not to do in a museum, this destructiveness also reveals how the sole novelty of a selfie in society is more important than one’s present experience.

It makes an interesting picture if one ignores the cost, but the selfie can never exist in place of the experience of being in a museum and having direct exposure to works of art. What then takes priority is using the opportunity to brag to friends, separating the subject of the selfie from the experience despite being present in the image.

The difference between people taking selfies and asking another tourist at the Grand Canyon to take a picture of them is that the former is typically expected to be posted to social media sites, whereas vacation photographs are more likely to be developed and end up in a scrapbook or memory box. 

The goal of many selfies is for people to insert themselves into the impressive scenario and instantly show Facebook or Instagram that they have been somewhere or done something important. As shown with the case of the museum selfie, some are willing to undergo extreme measures to proudly accomplish this.

The desire to take an intriguing selfie is quickly dominating popular culture, as seen with DeGeneres’ selfie with stars such as Jennifer Lawrence, Brad Pitt and Bradley Cooper. Talk show host Jimmy Kimmel is gaining as much attention with a selfie including the whole Clinton family, which proves how even celebrity selfies must have a novelty factor. 

Despite the fun spontaneity of taking a selfie, danger lies in how people use them to show they visited New York City or were even in front of the Marshall Student Center bulls rather than enjoy the moment inspiring the selfie.

Though the selfie trend is not expected to go anywhere, its effects are not altogether negative. For instance, many acknowledge and make use of its alternative potential that allows people to control the appearance they share with the world and even improve their self-esteem. 

However, the difference between sharing second-hand accounts of an experience and actually engaging in a moment should be known – and absorbing a personal experience should definitely not be intercepted with eager, and sometimes careless, selfie-taking.

Isabelle Cavazos is a sophomore majoring in English.