The "#Selfie" Generation
I'm worried for The Selfie Generation.
You know what a "selfie" is, don't you? It's when people take pictures of themselves, most often doing duck face and then, of course, hashtagging it (when did "hashtag" become a verb?) as, "#selfie" on social media sites such as Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. There's usually no occasion for it and there is no limit in frequency.
|My self portrait. Where I was trying out red lipstick. #NoSelfiesHere|
I absolutely loathe the word "selfie" as much as I do "panties."
It feels dirty and ridiculous to say.
Only toddlers add "ie" or "ee" on to the end of words, and only then is it acceptable. Vivi has her "dollies" and her "chuppies" (chupon is the Spanish word for pacifier), and that's okay because she's TWO YEARS OLD.
When full-grown, ok, slightly grown people take pictures of themselves for no good reason other than to share with a world who assumedly wants to see another picture of them, it kills me. Not everyone wants to see you. All of the time.
I harken back to when I was in junior high school. I'd go to school. I'd get home from school and do my chores (yes, chores) and then IMMEDIATELY, as soon as possible, get on the telephone. (Ah, the benefits of being a "latch-key" kid. Remember that phrase?)
I can safely say that I am quite thrilled that video-conversing wasn't the norm when I was 14 and awkward. Today, the kiddos are CONSTANTLY facetiming and skyping. LIKE ALL THE TIME. LOOKING AT EACH OTHER. And chatting. And then when they're done they're writing on one another's walls and instagramming and blah, blah, blah. Is this weird?
I'm not saying that being a teenager in the 90's was the coolest thing in the WORLD (lots of flannel and high-waisted, wide-leg Mudd jeans and more), but there was something to be said for the mystique of not SEEING someone I was on the phone with.
AND, there was something to be said for not always being available.
A boy would call MY HOME and gasp! -- maybe I wasn't home, and gasp! -- maybe I missed that phone call and instead got a PHONE MESSAGE written in handwriting ON A PIECE OF PAPER or maybe it was even on my ANSWERING MACHINE.
I didn't actually have a cell phone until I went away to college. Yup. COLLEGE. Now kids have cell phones when they're 8. (That's another blog post.)
But The Selfie Generation, they're texting and skyping and selfie-taking. They're Facebook status-updating and checking their Instagram pic "likes" as soon as they wake up in the morning for validation. When I was a kid, yep, when I was a kid, there was virtually no way that you could amass that much validation (and also criticism) in such a public forum. Nope.
Everything is just so... out there now.
(I appreciate the irony of this. You know, since I'm a blogger complaining about social media and the interweb.)
But The Selfie Generation scares me because I want them to experience life; not just take pictures of it.
I want them to realize thatsuccess and happiness is not measured in "likes."
I want them to read the news; not status updates.
I want them to experience silence and quiet conversation-less periods of time.
I want them to experience a missed call.
I want them to go somewhere without a phone in their hand.
I want to them to have conversational skills.
I want them to be able to spell.
I want them to realize that the world of social media is not the real world.
Oh, Selfie Generation.
No one wants to see you because it's not all about you.
...YOU need to invest in other people and get to know them.
BE present. Don't text, call. Don't call, speak; face-to-face.
Social media is a conversational tool; not the conversation.
Stop taking pictures and start creating relationships.