Selfie Nation Unite


The idea of the filter. Instagram is a perfect example of this. The app comes preloaded with filters to mute, highlight, brighten, and focus. These filters can make your photo appear better than you took it originally. But what is the main focus of a filter? To show something that isn’t real. We all use filters everyday. I put on makeup to filter my uneven and acne scarred skin. We use filters in conversations so we don’t seem rude or different. There are many different types of filters we encounter in our everyday lives. What do they all have in common? We use them to create a false sense of reality.


What about technology’s filters. Just like a coffee filter stops the ground beans from getting in to your hot mug of coffee a spam filter stops all of those annoying unwanted emails from landing in your inbox. Twitter filters your thoughts by only giving you 140 characters to type out a thought. Reddit and Yelp filter out comments based on which ones they think are the most important or most helpful.


Photo filters are a way to change our perception of something. We see our faces in the mirror everyday. But when we take a selfie and use a filter it changes our perception of ourselves and allows us to appreciate it in a new way. Filters aren’t just for likes or comments. Filters allow us to see everyday things in a new light.


This idea of filters is fascinating to me. I realized that I used a filter while in conversation with particular people. I have used Instagram filters to make colors pop or brighten an image. I just didn’t realize how much technology filters us. I also didn’t realize how filters were used to improve our everyday lives. Getting your message across in 140 characters is a filter that allows us to edit and only say the most important things. Filters are everywhere and most of the time they are very useful.


The experimental Instagram before smartphones:

Artists are usually the type of people who think of things before everyone else. Szuc’s art exhibition of polaroid pictures taken everyday for 15 years is amazing. She let down her walls and allowed herself to be vulnerable to take selfies before the word was entered in to the English dictionary. She took pictures of her everyday life and of what she thought was interesting. She was following the design of Instagram before smartphones were invented. I think this is such a smart project. She wanted to see time lapse and this is the only way she knew how to do it.


Years later, Youtube is created and now young people are creating time lapse videos. Photos taken of themselves over the course of a few years were made in to videos and went viral. No one before had seen such progression of time with photos. Progression videos became a phenomenon on youtube and many users found new and interesting ways to document the passing of time.


This chapter explains that profile pictures are a representation of one’s true self. I agree and disagree with this statement. I believe that most people put up a picture that they believe is the truest representation of themselves. A picture on vacation or smiling with friends. Others want to look better or different for their online profile so they doctor a selfie by using different camera angles, mood lighting and filters. This can create the illusion one wants their image to have. I agree that most people want to show their true selves online. I in particular have a picture of me and my boyfriend. At first glance you would think that I chose that photo because it is my favorite or that I really like showing of my relationship. Neither of those things are true. Yes, I am happy with my boyfriend but I don’t believe that I need him to be my profile picture to brag about how good I think we both look. I had a picture of just me on one of my recent vacations as my profile picture. The non stop messages I would get from men I have never met got so annoying that I knew the only way it would stop was if I put up a picture with me and my boyfriend in it. Now, is that the truest form of myself? Who is to judge? I just chose it to stop the messages from strangers. I still get a few from time to time but its much less than before.


This chapter explained why selfies can be important. I have never looked at selfies in this light before. I am not a fan of selfies. I don’t take them, I don’t post them, and I don’t need the confidence boost from likes or comments. That doesn’t mean that I don’t see why other people take them and post them. Selfies are a culturally excepted phenomenon now. Selfies have become part of some peoples identification. I can’t stand the attention the Kardashians get but Kim has made a name based on her notorious selfies. I guess I can’t hate her for knowing how to brand herself and remain popular.

Self Segregation- White vs. Everyone Else


First off I would like to point out how well this article was written. The polls, the graphs, and the analysis was well done and well written. This was how I was taught to write an article in my journalism classes. There is a hint of bias but the article is full of facts and figures and that is why I am impressed.

The first thing I thought about was this new show I am addicted to lately, it’s called American Crime. It airs on Tuesdays on FX. This season they are portraying the People vs. OJ Simpson trial. Growing up I learned about the trial but I never understood the social significance of the time and the verdict. History tends to repeat itself and in this article Brown vs. Ferguson is discussed. OJ was sentenced as not guilty by a jury during a time of racism and prejudice. The LA police had a problem with racial outbursts and beatings. During the time of the Brown case Ferguson was up in arms and it was a replay of the OJ Simpson case. White police officers were accused of racism and hate crimes. Who is to say who is wrong here? I leave that up to the judicial system.

The main subject of this article is that the Ferguson case brought up a good conversation topic. White people have strictly white networks. Minorities seem to have a more diverse networking system and they work closely with other minorities and white people. White people tend to only network with other white people, thus making their “circle” less diverse.

Now, this can be based on a lot of different factors. Geography, social status, income, and education. If you live in a predominantly white town you will mostly have an inner circle of white people. If you live in a more culturally diverse town your network might be more diverse. Many factors can contribute to this, but the main issue is how these networks relay information. By traveling beyond our close circles whites can begin to understand how others think and process information.

I’m not going to sit here and pretend that I don’t think this problem exists, because it does. I for one have never got stopped by the police for anything other than speeding. I have never been arrested or had an officer of the law hold a gun up to me. I will never understand the injustice of a hooded sweatshirt and a misunderstanding can cause. But as the article suggests I will never understand these things because I am white. It isn’t my fault let alone anyone else fault. But there is a race issue across the country and I am not sure what can be done about it. But I will never pretend that it doesn’t exist.


White Flight:

Kat, the 14 year old white student was me in high school. I never identified as a racist but due to my educational level and after school activities I spent most of my time with white people. Rahway high school is extremely diverse but I took mostly honors and AP classes. This meant that the classes were mostly white with a few minorities. I dated an African American male, but he too identified as white and he had no other “black friends.” As I look back now I always thought that it wasn’t by choice but that it was because of my class schedule. But I see that this wasn’t quite true. I had opportunities such as lunch or gym time to socialize with everyone else, but I found that I stuck to my “white friends” because we had gotten close from having classes together.

I actually didn’t know about this cultural divide between myspace and Facebook. I find this interesting because I used to have a myspace and the reason I left the site was because so many of my friends had left the site that there was no point to me having a profile anymore. I followed the bandwagon and created a Facebook account like everyone else did. That’s the way high school works, everyone follows trends. You can’t be left out, you have to keep up with the “popular thing to do.”

I also learned something in high school that this article made me remember. There are different shades of white and black. I was from Rahway so white people in Westfield or Clark never saw me as “white enough.” I wasn’t a cheerleader and I didn’t date a lacrosse player. My house was smaller than my friends homes from these towns and my parents didn’t make a lot of money. But in Rahway I was considered white. My boyfriend in high school was also seen as not “black enough.” He didn’t have many black friends, he dated a white girl, and he had an after school job at the mall. But when we went out to eat in clark or walked around Westfield after going to the movies he was seen as black. Its a fascinating concept. That where your geographical location is determines if you are a minority or not. I learned this fact when I was younger and the older I get I see all of the time that nothing has changed. We as white people might segregate ourselves but we also asa human race segregate each other just as much.


Selfie Culture

Part I: The Digital Humanities and Selfie Culture. As Ms. Posner puts it, the content and lessons of a course it what makes it a true learning experience. This is a great idea, that technology is moving forward and more learning techniques must be geared towards social norms for millennial students. Throughout history every generation has been defined by the changes that have happened during certain decades. The millennial generation has see significant change when it comes to technology and the older generations find it hard to keep up. As educators, teachers must keep up with the changes to better educate these generations. I think these “selfie courses” will prove to be good for future students.

I recently visited France. In Paris I walked through the famous Louvre museum. On almost every wall there were famous and historical “selfies.” Back then kings, rich men, and political figures wanted portraits of themselves painted by a local artist. They hung these portraits in their homes. The palace of Versailles, which is outside of Paris, is one of the largest and most extravagant palaces that still exists. In almost every room King Louis the 14th had a portrait of himself. He believed that this proved his wealth. In the main ballroom he had sitting on a mantel a bust of him, sculpted when he was only 22 years old. Talk about selfie culture in the middle ages. Rich and powerful men had portraits painted for their wives as well. There were no pictures back then so the portraits were hung to show the power and wealth of a family. Although our selfies are very different now I believe that they have similarities. We like to use selfies to document how we look at a certain time. We also use selfies to communicate things. Back then it was a way to prove wealth and power. It is still the same today. The wealth and the powerful get the most “likes” or “followers” due to their popularity, wealth, or status. Selfies have various uses these days but they are just like they were back then.

In Part 2: Internet identity and selfie practices representation was one of the topics that struck me as most important. Selfies can be used now to represent a person and their product. I recently had a friend send a selfie to me. She looked great, she had lost a lot of weight, she looked healthy and happy. I asked her how. She tagged me on a “selfie” on instagram. The girls name is Katy Hearn. Well I had never heard of this girl before so I started looking through her page. The girl is a personal trainer. Her selfies are pictures of her body parts to show how toned and strong she is. She posts selfies of her at the gym. She also posts videos demonstrating different workouts. I was hooked. I ordered her guides through her website and now I am on week three of her workouts and I feel so much stronger. Without a selfie culture, how would this girl have been able to represent herself and sell her product?  Selfie culture is now responsible for entrepreneurs to represent themselves through social media.

Part 3: Networked Spaces, Slut Shaming and Putting Selfies in Dialogue with Theory, this talked about the downside of selfie culture. Amanda Todd, a 15 year old girl, committed suicide, as a result of bullying. Her bullying began when nude photos of her were found online. She was in 7th grade. These kids are growing up in a culture where selfies are part of the conversation. Instagram, twitter and Facebook make it seem normal to post whatever we want. These children don’t understand the repercussions of posting a selfie, especially a nude selfie. Bullying is one of cyberspace’s biggest issues. When selfies are so easy to gain access to girls tend to make fun of each other. Amanda’s bullying was a result of her posting nude photos and the other girls found out. What these kids don’t understand is that selfies become part of the dialogue and once a photo is out there, it can’t be taken back.

Part 4: Diversity, NetProv and Service Learning brought up the question of, what is a selfie. When I think of a selfie I think of Ellen Degeneres at the Oscars a few years ago. Her selfie that was taken with a couple of hollywood’s biggest stars crashed twitter. But what is the significance of a selfie? “there were a lot of preconceptions among students about what counted as a selfie. They — like many people — had reduced selfies to merely the behavior of stereotypical young women who were excessively vain and self-centered. Once we opened up selfies, we followed up on Jill’s work in two directions: one was opening up the many forms of image-sharing online including Snapchat; the other direction was to look at the history of self-representation, not just portraiture but semiotic self-representation of all kinds that was fundamental to human culture. This could include writing, such as autobiography, letter writing, and journaling.”

Marino makes an excellent point that selfies have come a long way. Since the beginning of time there were people who wanted to be noticed. These people wrote letters, wrote autobiographies about their lives and journaled about their day to day. A selfie can be seen as a picture journal. If a picture is worth a thousand words then what does your selfie say?