Book Review: Selfies: Why We Love (and Hate) Them by Katrin Tiidenberg
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According to Mashable, the average person will take around 25,000 selfies in their lifetime. Thanks to smartphone cameras and the rise of social media, the selfie has become one of our main modes of self-expression. But there’s more to selfies than duck-faces and the selfie-arm, argues Katrin Tiidenberg. In her new book Selfies: Why We Love (and Hate) Them, she poses selfies as a cultural mechanism which spans back to the early days of portraiture and the very first photographs. Selfies go far beyond just a quick snap with a front-facing camera, Tiidenberg says - they’re actually ‘self-representational networked photographs’. Seen through the context of Internet sharing and communication, selfies don’t even have to be images of your own face: sharing a photo of your gluten-free brunch or a Starbucks cup with your name on can constitute a self-representational networked photograph. Sometimes even just sharing a meme to your Facebook page can be a selfie. Tiidenberg’s new book has a lot of good things going for it. It’s a quick, informative read at just 158 pages, and it introduces a lot of nuanced concepts in order to look at our own Information Age in a new light, using occasional anecdotes from her own life to illustrate her points. She questions WHY selfies are important, how they originated, and what exactly makes a selfie a selfie. There’s a handy glossary of new terms included with the introduction, and some nice summations of the overall content in the conclusion. If you want a quick, illuminating read, Selfies: Why We Love (and Hate) Them could be the little book for you.
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