Selfie / ˈsɛlfi
NOUN (plural selfies)
A photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically one taken with a smartphone and uploaded to a social media website.
No longer bound by quotations and the struggle to be a “real word”, the selfie was finally taken seriously by the world when it was famed “word of the year” by the Oxford English Dictionary in 2013.
The selfie was developed by social media, you say, but that would be underestimating mankind’s ability to engage in narcissistic behaviour of self-obsession. Before the digital age, there were film cameras, and before that, there were paintbrushes. Predating that, I’m willing to bet that eons were wasted by cavemen and cavewomen, staring at themselves in every remotely reflective surface.
Why the obsession? Is it purely because we’re too self-absorbed for our own good? Some mighty clever folks from Harvard have dug into this issue and found behavioural and neural evidence that self-disclosure is intrinsically rewarding. We willingly share our thoughts, experiences, and self-portraits because our brain then rewards us with dopamine – the same happy drug that we get from food and sex. To selfie or not to selfie, that is not the question. What to selfie with – now you’ve hit the jackpot.
Brands, remember this dopamine-driven equation. Give your audience a reason to engage and overwhelm the social-sphere with them and hopefully you. You want to be that fun, photogenic friend everyone wants to appear in a picture with. But remember, you have to make them look good. After all, it is their selfie; but who says you can’t both share in the happy aftermath?
If you’re curious – here’s a few brands that have already tapped into this behaviour:
- Benefit Cosmetics
- Dove – #beautyis
- Lancome - #Bareselfie
- White House Black Market – Wear What Works
- AT&T – Be The Fan
- Ted Baker – Merry Kissmas