Thursday, August 14, 2014

Are Selfies Dangerous? Let's Take a Pole



[ A tip of the hat and thank you to author Medeia Sharif for sharing this news story...it's the stuff that fuels The Flipside. Check out her page and purchase several hundred of her excellent books. Christmas is just around the corner...]

The Washington Post reported that a Polish couple taking selfies at the Cabo Da Roca cliffs in Portugal fell to their deaths last Saturday. Something inside me wants to see those last pictures; I mean, I didn't cause their death and I certainly don't wish that on anyone, but you know the last one is a doosie. 

I don't understand selfies (hey, I apologize for tackling this same issue twice this year - see the March post about Selfabsorbies).  Pictures of other people? Sure, I love pictures of other people, particularly my family. In fact, when I croak, I die with the knowledge that twenty thousand digital photos of vacations, kids, pets and scenes worthy of painting will be safe and sound on my computer's hard drive. Have at it! What will be missing? Selfies. My role is behind the camera, not in front of it. I'm saving my family the trouble of taking their own selfies. What is that called? A youie?

Desperate for a profile pic a while back, I took three photos in rapid succession with my phone's camera and told myself that would have to do. It was still too much reality visible on that picture, so I ran it through a cartoonizing program. The other profile pic I use was taken by a stranger when I spoke at a seminar. The trend to photograph one's self has not caught on here at Casa Flipside. 

What is the point of the selfies? Do the photographers really think their acquaintances log on to see if there is another picture of Miley Cyrus with her tongue hanging out? I have a dog for that point of view, and she is live action tongue hanging 24/7. If I knew the specific motivation behind it, I could better understand the phenomenon. 

Take a good picture of your new haircut? Fine. I want to see the new you. Good for you; it's a great feeling to have a new 'do. Professional shot for an author, model or artist? Again - I'm fine with that; it make sense. Put yourself out there, because that is where your biz is.

Take a new picture of yourself every other day and post it? Why? Do you look different? Is this a game, like "spot the new wrinkle on Bertha" or "guess what is different about my septum?" Are you missing and want to be found? Because I'm using plastic milk jugs now, and I won't see your picture on a carton. So, I guess that would be sensible. 

Hubzam accuses me of being electronics obsessed nearly every time I use a cell phone. Smart phones have been moving closer and closer to handheld offices for those who muck about online or juggle schedules and people. I'll admit that it only seems sensible to me that I use the drive time, when no one is talking to me, to catch up on some of my checklist fodder. Basically, I'm agreeing with him...sort of...sometimes.

While Hubzam is hard at work in his office, I am dealing with the public out in the barely real world. True electronically addicted and just plain oblivious people are everywhere. Walking and talking may be a stretch for some, but add texting, Youtube and gaming. Good grief, sit down people, you're a traffic blocker. People with to-do lists and plans are trying to move it on down the aisle. I'm jaded.

What's the harm? Why don't I just mind my own bloggin' business? 

Because Polish people are walking off cliffs in Portugal while taking selfies. Not one absented minded tourist...TWO of them. TOGETHER. On the same cliff, simultaneously.

My blog hasn't killed anyone - yet.

15 comments:

  1. FWIW, I think your cartoonized profile pic has serious pizazz. :)

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    1. Thanks, Suze - sometimes, God smiles on idiots and gives them a break.

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  2. People are oversharing. Some people are even taking pictures while driving or doing other dangerous things. They want to share the best parts of their lives so badly.

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    1. In the end, I always have thought that oversharing is not so much about sharing but more about wanting to pull others in. I think it's counterproductive; there's a bell curve and we are on the downward curve after the peak. We are becoming less personal and social, and more like a person talking to themselves.

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  3. Good morning, dear Cherdo! I am in total agreement with you about selfies. People who habitially take, transmit or publish selfies come across as vain and narcissistic. I mean, how many pictures of Miley Cyrus with her tongue hanging out do we really need? (Actually, I need one more to make an even hundred. :)

    The story about the Polish couple falling to their deaths while taking selfies is tragic but it doesn't surprise me one bit. I'm going to be a spoiler and tell you in advance about my next blog post and how it relates to that news and this topic. Mrs. Shady and I visited the Grand Canyon. I'll admit right here and now that I'm afraid of heights. (I'm over 6 feet tall and every time I stand up I get scared because my head is so far off the ground.) Mrs. Shady, on the other hand, is a risk taking daredevil. She makes Evil Knievel look like the Cowardly Lion. So, what did she insist on doing at the Grand Canyon? She walked out on a ledge with a thousand foot drop right behind her (no guard rail) and stood there taking a series of selfies! I just about had a fit - threw up in my mouth a couple of times. Over the years Mrs. Shady and I have been known to argue with each other in front of friends and family. If the worst would have happened - a gust of wind had come along and she lost her balance and went over the cliff - I'd be sitting down for an interview with Dateline's Keith Morrison at this very moment because no one would ever believe it was an accident! :) Mrs. Shady wasn't the only one taking selfies at the Grand Canyon. I saw many people doing the same thing - standing on rocks only a couple feet from certain death taking selfies. Stats indicate that 2 or 3 people die from falls each year at the Grand Canyon and the primary cause is overzealous picture taking. I wanted to share this paragraph from the Associated Press:

    << Of 55 who have accidentally fallen from the rim of the canyon, 39 were male. Eight of those guys were hopping from one rock to another or posing for pictures, including a 38-year-old father from Texas pretending to fall to scare his daughter, who then really did fall 400 feet to his death. >>

    I hope you are in good health and good spirits, dear friend Cherdo. See you next time!

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    1. Oh, my gosh, Shady! That last one about the father from Texas was horrible! What a terrible thing; poor kid.

      As always, this is just my humble opiinion: I don't understand it. For that matter, I don't understand why it freaks me out to do it, ha ha. I'm more in the "don't look at me" camp! I'd much rather drop you a note for socializing, but I admit part of that is the online bullying and ridiculous lengths people go to say something nasty. I'd rather run under that radar, if possible. I don't moderate posts, but I'd delete a nasty one in a minute - without apology! I often wonder why they don't do that on all the sites?

      Shady, you're good peeps. The very best.

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  4. I took a couple of selfies once to email to someone. Let's just say my face wasn't in them. I promise I'll never do that again.

    Love,
    Janie

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    1. I'm checking my email right now, Janie, just in case...

      (Ha ha ha ha)

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  5. Selfabsorbies!!! LOL. I think people have just decided asking someone else to take a pic of them is way too much work. If you've ever seen a young girl have her picture taken for Facebook/Instagram/Twitter, you know why. "Take another one. Take another one. Try again. No, I look fat in that one, take another one." Most of us say, "NO. I'm not standing here taking a thousand photos of you." With a selfie, they can snap for an hour, adjust their lipstick and hair, and snap for another hour without someone telling them to take a hike!

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    1. In truth, there is very little that bothers me - I just don't understand the whole phenomenon! I'd be worried someone thought I was vain, but that is just my wiring.

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  6. It's exactly as I have feared. These phones... these crazy, stupid phones... they're out to kill us!

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    1. My husband thinks technology is the work of the devil. He is an IT guy...

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  7. I'm Polish-American and I'm ashamed for my ethnic background after hearing this story. Doesn't surprise me, though--in the States there's been footage of people walking off subway platforms and into fountains because they're staring at their phones. Another reason why I have a beef with too much usage of mobile devices!

    Nice blog, BTW! I've been meaning to hop on over here for a visit and was pleased to see my pal Shady is here as well.

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    1. I've enjoyed your blog, too, Pam! Thanks! Hope to see you as a regular. ;-)

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Thanks for your personal yada, yada, yada,
Love, Cherdo