With only a little shame do I admit to loving Instagram. A lot, you guys. I love Instagram a lot. In fact, when I first got an iPhone 3GS (which was my first smartphone and came into my life merely two years ago), Instagram was one of my first installs.
I used it for two days, didn’t get it, and uninstalled it.
And then, some months later, I become a million times smarter, reinstalled it, and I’ve been hooked ever since. Now I’m the one trying to explain to people who “don’t get it,” or people that are all “Facebook bought it! It’s not cool anymore!” that they’re wrong. So please, before anyone yells at me for this, understand that I do truly, really, deeply love Instagram.
Yes, I realize this isn’t an Instagram-only thing, but the photo-sharing platform remains one of the only apps I haven’t felt terribly betrayed by, and where a good chunk of the selfie madness is originating. And when I’m seeing noise like #SelfieSaturday taking over I just have to ask …
It’s not even the selfie itself (or rather, itselfie – I won’t apologize for that, I regret nothing!) that makes me want wrap an iOS charging cord around my neck and end it all. By all means, self-portrait it up. It’s the fact the people think we need guides to taking selfies. I swear to everything that I love, this better all be an SEO ploy. I hope that all of the biz dev and search engine wizards from all of these publications walked into the respective editorial rooms and handed over reports on top of reports that showed we’re searching “how to take a selfie” like it’s going to be on the damn SATs.
Dammit, guys – we are! We are doing that!
Apparently, something happened this past November that made the Internet lose its damn mind and forget how to point a camera at its face. Seriously, there was a moment in time where the search term “how to take a selfie” overtook “how to bake a pie.” In what world is that OK?
How insane is it there are full-blown articles on this? That someone was paid actual, real money to create instructions for a selfie? Tips in some of these guides include:
“Pinch cheeks and tap lips with your fingers a few times to bring out the color in your face.” Why would you do this if you’re going to filter it anyway?
“One should not hold the phone too high or too low.” Unless you are offering an exact degree, shut up.
“Stretching your arms in crazy directions will make it harder to smile naturally.” This is some real genius. It’s akin to saying something like “Also, if you punch yourself in the face, you will probably look worse!”
“A selfie becomes extra-special when you can include something unique in the background.” Like a dick? Sorry. I could not resist that joke, it was handed to me on a platter. Like dicks usually are. Damn it, I am so sorry and please allow me to emphasize that is a joke. I’d also like to take this moment to apologize to my dad. Sorry, dad.
“Taking selfies is sort of like having kids: You love each of them in their own way, because each is special in their own way.” I actually might vomit. And this is a terrible pitch for having children.
“Just imagine for a second a beautiful piece of chocolate in your mouth, just melting over your tongue … Now already, you’re smiling with your eyes.” The screaming in my head won’t stop. Make it stop. I beg of you.
Go ahead, keep on taking selfies, keep on Instagramming and Facebooking and tweeting them … but please don’t read a guide before you do it. You want a guide to taking a selfie? Step one, hold phone and point it at face. Step two, click shutter. You are finished. And if you want to get real with it, you hold said phone at that above-your-face angle that’s supposedly slightly more flattering. All steps can be applied to a camera as well. If you’ve really given up, just go ahead and stand in front of your bathroom mirror and snap away. There’s your guide, and it took all of 77 words.