Hate them or loathe them (deliberate, that) Selfies are evidently here to stay. Thanks to the pioneering ingenuity of Instagram’s Layout expansion, it is even possible to post one picture with more than one selfie. The most narcissistic photo-taking habit of the 21st century has not only take over the internet, it has also taken over its own images. Utter, utter madness.
To paraphrase the New York Times, the number of photos taken every year is growing at an exponential rate – it’s just a shame that many of these are now just of the photographer’s own face. Snapchat boasts 100 million daily users, who contribute to the terrifying rate of 9,000 photos shared every second. Facebook users post an equally astounding 350 million new photos every day.
The term selfie was first discussed in 2005, apparently, by photographer Jim Krause. By the end of 2012, with the rise of the smartphone and – one can only assume – increased levels of teenage boredom, ‘Selfie’ was included in Time Magazine’s top 10 buzzwords. However, what started as a handheld pastime that we hoped would die out, the Selfie phenomenon has been aided by an explosion of gadgets.
Arguably the most important development was the inclusion of a camera lens on the front of people’s smartphones. Thanks to this development – who knows what cancers could have been cured if that energy was directed elsewhere – the ability to stare longingly at, err, your own face, was made easier than ever before.
According to Boston based teeth whitening experts Luster Premium White, the average millennial will take 25,700 selfies in his or her lifetime. Combined with the fact that there are currently in existence more than 300 million photos on Instagram with the ‘Selfie’ tag, it is no wonder that the Selfie Stick – dubbed the wand of Narcissus – has become so synonymous with modern day life. In 2014, Amazon, Ebay and other sites reported massive interest in the selfie stick product, an extendable arm that allows you to take selfies more easily.
As if a Selfie stick wasn’t enough, this year saw the release of Selfie Mirror, a smart mirror that allows users to take selfies and post them straight to social media networks. The company behind Selfie Mirror is even offering products to beauty salons and event organizers to help capitalize on the global trend for taking photos of yourself.
“People love sharing selfies of themselves and their friends online,” says Selfie Mirror CEO and founder Karina Shemyakina. “Selfie Mirror removes any unnecessary delay in sharing photos, so people can just get on and enjoy themselves and live in the moment. Selfie Mirror also stops the absurdity of taking a selfie by hand, or with a selfie stick.”
To a self-confessed selfie hater, this all seems like a sign of things to come. Hopefully, the apocalypse. Still, with everyone busy looking into their smartphone’s front camera lens, they probably won’t even notice.