Research paper rough draft


History of “selfies”

  • In this portion of the paper I will be talking about the history of selfies and where it first started
    • The first selfie taken is believed to be in 1839 by a chemist and photography enthusiast named Robert Cornelius. He set up a camera in the back of the store he worked at in Philadelphia and sat for a full minute to let the camera capture him. On the back of the photo Cornelius claimed that it was “The first light Picture ever taken. 1839.”
  • I will then talk about the rise of technology and social media and how this affects the very nature of a selfie and what it means to a person.
    • This is where I will use my source from “Plugged In: How Media Attract and Affect Youth” and talk about the seven affordances that come with social media.
    • “The affordances are asynchronicity, which is the fact that we can communicate at a time that suits them; identifiability, the idea that we can choose what is anonymous or public; cue manageability, the possibility for users to show or hide cues about self while communicating; accountability, the fact that we can easily find information and contact each other; scalability, how we can choose the size of our audience; replicability, how we can copy or share existing online content; and retrievability, how we can store and retrieve posted content.” (This is taken from my Annotated Bibliography)
  • I will then summarize Goodnow’s journal article, “The Selfie Moment: The Rhetorical Implications of Digital Self Portraiture for Culture.”
    • This article goes through how selfies can say a lot about how our current culture
    • One of the points that Goodnow brings up is that people use selfies to measure their own attractiveness. This can be due to measuring our self worth with the amount of likes or comments our pictures get. We feel that we need a high number of responses to feel good about ourselves. When we see other people with a beautiful selfie and tons of reactions we in turn subconsciously begin to compare ourselves to them.
  • This will lead me into talking about how selfies relate to our personal identity and if a selfie can accurately portray who you are.

Selfies in the realm of Snapchat and other social media

In the year 2013,  the Oxford Dictionary announced that their word of the year was going to be: “selfie.” Selfie is defined as as “a photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically one taken with a smartphone or webcam and uploaded to a social media website.” With the rise in technology and digital media, a selfie is a huge way to express your identity to the public. There are critics who believe that “due to the instantaneous character of the selfie, some users believe this promotes superficiality” (Barbour & Nguyen 2017). Others assert that “a selfie can be an authentic portrayal of reality, but that does not necessarily make it an objective representation of reality” (Barbour & Nguyen 2017). What this means is that even though a selfie may not actually look exactly like the person, it can still be considered authentic in the sense that it still displaying the essence of that person. There is no harm in trying to look the best that you can in a photo, especially if it is one that you are taking of yourself. You have the control and it makes sense to take advantage of that.

The problem really begins when you start to confuse your public portrayal of yourself with your own sense of identity. This is where Snapchat plays a huge part. Snapchat is a mobile app that is either one on one or with a group that lets you send photos, video, and other messages that disappear after a time limit that you are allowed to set. According to a NY Times article Snapchat currently has about 186 million daily users consuming about 800 hours of video per second. Snapchat also has features like Stories (photos or videos that can be posted on one’s profile for a full 24 hours), Memories (saved photos of videos that can be accessed at a later time in the app), Video chatting within message streams, and other fun tools like stickers to decorate your snaps, filters to show the date or location, and augmented reality filters to physically change or add to your photos and videos. This is one of the most popular apps currently, especially among teenagers.

  • I will then go on to explain further how Snapchat works and how ingrained it is in our society
  • I’d like to talk about the rise of augmented reality facial filters and pick a part what each one really does.
    • What are the effects of these filters?
    • How does change how we perceive normal people? How we perceive celebrities?
  • Some of the detrimental effects
    • Is Snapchat Dysmorphia something to be concerned about?
    • The rise of Snapchat requests in plastic surgery.

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