“I got a thousand likes for my DP!” Squealed my 25 year old friend. She showed me a picture of her with a tiger who was yawning.
I almost fell off my chair, “Wasn’t that dangerous?”
She shrugged her shoulders and said, “Nah. He was an old tiger. They said nothing could happen.”
I was still appalled. Something could have happened to her. A tiger is still ferocious and it only takes a moment for it to react and harm a person. Why was it was so important to her to take that picture and put it up on a social media site?
Recently an MLA visited a drought stricken area and took a selfie. The picture was widely criticised but the MLA wanted to get noticed, recognised and tell her seniors that she was actually there. In her moment of self-obsession, she didn’t recognise the gravity of the situation. She is not alone. There are many people who would say, “What’s the harm? It’s just a photo!”
But the need for the perfect selfie and the desire to be liked and appreciated can go to dangerous lengths.
According to a , the most number of selfie deaths in the world occurred in India. Of at least 27 “selfie related” deaths around the world last year, about half occurred in India.
In recent news, two youths were run over by a train while taking selfies on the railway tracks at Purushottampur railway crossing in Chunar area in Mirzapur district in UP state of India.
In February 2016 a college student drowned after falling off of the Waldevi Dam in Nashik, India, while taking a selfie. In March 2015 seven Indian youths drowned while taking selfies on Mangrul Lake near Kuhi, about 20 km from Nagpur, India. Their boat had tipped over as they were standing up to pose. (Wikipedia)
Our lives are now recorded in selfies. Who we met, what we did, where we are, how we look needs to be documented and appreciated.
What is this need for fame that everyone is seeking?
There are more people who will go online to Facebook to like a new DP than look for a blog to read. In a world which is becoming more visual, the perfect photograph has gained importance. But it’s not just a pretty picture. It’s you in it. It’s how shocking, dangerous, thrilling and exciting it can be and how you look in that moment. It’s the moment of envy of others. Can you make someone else jealous? If you can, that moment is the perfect picture and hence the most amount of likes on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and every social media that you put it up on. If you can even “trend” because of it, or have people comment, share and discuss it, you’re a hit. And if you aren’t noticed, you’re nobody.
In this entire scenario no one really cares if it’s hazardous to your life or if it’s actually ethical!
Our lives are now documented online. Even if we take photos for ourselves, we have a desire to showcase it. To prove we did it. We can’t just go somewhere and enjoy the place, live in the moment or soak in the wonder. Why?
It’s our need to be famous.
Famous people make more money, live better lives, and have all the luxuries in the world. To be famous one need not be moral. One needs to always be in the public eye.
Recently during a TV actress’ funeral, there was much fainting, drama and sound bytes given to the media of how close they were to her. The media played out their stories with their photos and instantly these actors got noticed. In an industry where you need to be spotted, remembered, praised, you don’t think of the right or decent thing to do. It’s about fame after all. And fame that you can ride on someone else without actually paying for your stories, images, and photos to appear in the papers .
According to a renowned Mumbai psychologist Gitali Banerji of MindfulSpring.com and Inner Space Therapy says, “We have become a generation, an era of people who are so self-obsessed that we don’t look at the harm it can cause us later. There will come a time when not as many people will like your picture, or really care about what you do, where you are or how you look. If you’ve built your life on that appreciation, it will become difficult to adjust to normal living. That’s when you get depressed, paranoid, and obsessive.”
In a market that is making better cameras and people taking more photos of themselves and trying desperately to get famous, are we just losing focus?
Hollywood actor Jim Carrey put it succinctly when he said, “I think everybody should get rich and famous and do everything they ever dreamed of so they can see that it's not the answer.”
The only way we can find that answer is if we ask different questions. And none of them have to do with being liked or getting fame.