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Technology & Narcissism

Each and every person in this world usually considers her/his body, adorned face, expressions, exuberant friendship, and acquired property and gadgets as her/his own prized possession. In recent times, the majority of people have started showcasing all these on the Social Media in the form of selfies. In the 21st Century, people, everywhere, are worshipping images… on the sea, snow, aircraft, streets, and even in restaurants. They are sharing their images, clicked in different gestures and postures, with the world through various Social Media platforms. It has become an addictive digital activity.

People have been using cameras for the last 200 years… however, smartphones, fitted with powerful cameras, have sparked this global trend of seeing and showing one’s self. This image-centrism is wholly dependent on the Internet, allowing instantaneous distribution of visual information to any part of the globe. People have voluntarily handed over the responsibility of representing their respective selves to their selfies, and, the advanced technology is sending a part of one’s self to the screens of others’ smartphones in an effortless manner. As expected, one’s existence has become restless, and dependent on others’ comments. This particular entity prompts people to consciously change their behaviour patterns, attitudes, persons around them and their backgrounds. Although the entire plan is one’s own, the main aim is to attract others most of the time. Hence, if the person fails to share her/his images with others via Social Media almost immediately, then the efforts go in vain.

A number of smartphone-manufacturing companies are all set to launch new products, with selfie-expert cameras, in order to encourage this global trend. These cameras can help users click clear selfies in less light. In other words, people shall get an opportunity to worship their own images with more megapixels. Interestingly, images taken a moment ago disappear immediately in the self-waves of the future. The lifespan of selfie-images is short, and this transience pit is the basic characteristic of such images. Human beings are so engrossed in the daily festivities of temptation or ephemerality that not a single selfie lasts long. The aesthetic value of still pictures still lies in space and time. The digital abundance is yet to create that value. Images, kept in albums, are still valuable and nostalgic, as they are carrying the emotion of the past. The selfie-technology of the 21st Century recognises only the abundance of images, as the philosophy of this technology is to make the invisible visible in a blink of an eye.

The selfie has already destroyed the 200-year-old relationship between photography and human civilisation. However, the discussion shall remain incomplete without explaining the trend of selfie. There are three main features of this technology. Firstly, the democratisation of the media has allowed people to enjoy the ultimate advantage of visual aids and photography. Even a decade ago, only experts used to enjoy this advantage. Technological advancement has also ensured equality, as the traditional difference between a photographer and a non-photographer has disappeared. The cameras installed in smartphones are competing with Digital Single-Lens Reflex (DSLR) cameras. Now, everyone has become a photographer. The quality of the images is a different issue, altogether.

Secondly, there was clear division between the photographer and the object even a decade ago. Else it would not have been possible to click still images with aesthetic values if there was no traditionally clear division between the photographer and the object. The selfie technology has changed this equation. The users of smartphones have secured their places on screens. The essence of this technology is to constantly look at the self while clicking own images, and to show them to others. With this, the division between the photographer and the object has disappeared.

Thirdly, there was also a difference (of time and space) between looking at a camera while clicking an image and enjoying the printed version of that image. In other words, the process of clicking an image has also become an image. The method of clicking an image was invisible in the pre-selfie era. Now, it has found its place in the image. Currently, there is no division between the vision, scene and the photographer.

This selfie-centric civilisation is always active in transforming one’s self into a visual product and sharing it with others. Selfie-camera has become an integral part of our daily life. As a result, every individual and their every personal moment have become commodities, which want to attract comments from others. It has now become a common habit of human beings to make one’s own existence, company or loneliness and activities public. In the selfie era, a person has become an image, a viewer, a preacher of her/his own philosophy, and a critic. It can be said that the existence of a person depends entirely on her/his selfie, now.

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