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Tired of selfies? I've just found a good reason to stick with them

By Claire Harrison

Published 09/04/2015

Snapped up: the camera phone gave birth to the explosion of the selfie
Snapped up: the camera phone gave birth to the explosion of the selfie

I tend to arrive at new trends and technology a bit later than everyone else. CDs, for example, didn't enter my music collection until about 2002 and only because I bought a new car so modern it wouldn't accept cassettes. No sooner had I gotten to grips with the CD, than it got usurped by the likes of the iPod.

The revolution in photographic technology is similarly lost on me. I struggled with the arrival of the digital camera. While the concept is fantastic, I was never able to work out how to download onto a computer.

So I was grateful for the arrival of the camera phone, which has cut out the faffing about with a computer before loading up to Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. It now couldn't be easier to click and share, but that has brought with it a whole host of irritations, like the ease with which people will post a picture of absolutely anything on social media.

The explosion of the selfie can be blamed completely on the camera phone and is a social phenomenon I have steadfastly refused to have anything to do with ... until recently.

I can't stand the vainglorious stream of self-taken pics which celebrities bombard us with on social media (and, yes, many much-loved friends annoy me with them, too).

I was on a night out a couple of months ago when a friend produced her phone and said: "Let's do a selfie." The sober me would have punched her in the face, but the tipsy me decided to tolerate it for not wanting to look like a square.

And with one click, I hypocritically crossed the Rubicon into someone who smiled for a selfie. I woke up the next morning filled with shame and vowing to never behave in such a reckless manner again.

Until the weekend, when I was at the hugely enjoyable wedding of two friends at which the traditional guest book had taken a leap into the future by asking everyone to accompany their message with a selfie.

There was a selfie stick provided to help us pose, instructions on how to download an app onto our phones and even a little printer sitting nearby to send the selfie to via the app. It seemed rude to say "Actually, I don't do selfies" so I posed for one with my husband before taking charge of old-fashioned tasks like handwriting our message and sticking the picture into the book.

At the end of the night, I made a point of returning to the book to see how it had turned out. It was traditional in the sense that everyone had written the heartfelt messages you see in every wedding guest book, but the added selfies brought the pages alive.

I was amazed at how many people had taken the time to do it and the effort they put into their pictures and words. Every entry was filled with smiling, joyful faces making it a lasting memento of who was there to celebrate the occasion and how much we had all loved it.

It got me thinking how, maybe, I had been too harsh on selfies all along, and that perhaps there was, occasionally, a time and a place after all. No sooner was I mulling this over than I opened a national newspaper to alight on the headline: "The selfie's stuck in the past." The article declared: "We have reached peak selfie, so for the millennial generation it is time to start broadcasting ourselves live."

Typical! And, er, no thanks to being broadcast live. I'll stick to the selfies.

Don’s right not to give us piece of Pie

I have to admire Don McLean for stubbornly refusing to reveal what the lyrics of American Pie are really all about. 

His 1971 song is back in the headlines after the original manuscript — which may or may not include a few clues on why you’d ever drive your Chevy to the levee to find it dry — sold for an incredible $1.2m at auction.

The 16-page draft of scribbles hints at what was going on in McLean’s mind when he wrote the enduring mystery which has long been thought to reflect social upheavals of the 60s and 70s in the US.

McLean has only ever had one straight answer when asked what American Pie means: “It means I never have to work again if I don’t want to.”

A smart answer that is truer now than ever.

Mind what you say about baby brain...

Pregnant women and new mothers don’t suffer from the “baby brain” condition, because it doesn’t exist.

So says a new study which looked at the brain function of women who complain their brain has turned to mush by all things baby — and found no difference when compared to “normal” women.

It may not be a scientific or medical fact, but you try not developing a bit of mushy matter when you are trying to plough on with life while either (a) being a 24-hour incubator or, (b) attempting to operate on three minutes of sleep a week with a newborn.

Professor Michael Larson says women should realise “baby brain” is all in the mind. Yes, that’s Professor Larson — the man.

Belfast Telegraph

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