Stories We Tell Our Selfies


Selfies have become a common social practice for a significant number of people throughout the world. While some criticise selfies as attention seeking or narcissistic, others have argued that they are a form of visual diary and a way for an individual to tell their own story. This would make them a kind of autobiography that, facilitated by the characteristics of new technologies, has its own internal logic and mode of speaking. According to Nayar (2014), in a society in which people are constantly the object of public gaze through omnipresent CCTVs, selfies allow a person to be not only the object of a story, but also its subject. They can be seen as a form of counter surveillance, enabling a person to inscribe the story they want the world to see, through the use of selfies, emojis, texts, and tags. When people curate the information they want to show, and decide on how it’s presented, they are revealing their notions on what is important and worth sharing. So, by analysing selfies as autobiographies, we can also learn about cultural values. We must also consider how collaboration with other people, through likes and comments, affects the narration of these stories. Modern technology also allows selfie takers to manipulate their image by appropriating techniques that were once only utilized by the media and by leaders of the power hierarchy. Which prompts the question, has this changed people’s perceptions of the construction of discourses and of how history itself is told?

Author Information
Ana Clara Oliveira Santos Garner, City University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong

Paper Information
Conference: ACAH2017
Stream: Humanities - Cyberspace, Technology

This paper is part of the ACAH2017 Conference Proceedings (View)
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Posted by James Alexander Gordon