Beware! Selfie can land you in trouble


By : Saad Al-Dosary

YOU do not need to dress up, add any touches to the way you look to snap it. Whether in formal or informal situations, in a bathroom or in a meeting room, in a wedding or at a funeral, your commonsense and good judgment is the only thing that could stop from taking your phone out, extend your arms and take a selfie.

If the name of the game is social media networks these days, then a selfie is a major player in that game.

“Selfie” found its way to the dictionary in 2013 when the online version of Oxford Dictionary accepted it as a new word in the English language. The word means a self-portrait, a very common expression between photographers.

Some of the resources suggest that the first ever self-portrait or selfie, was taken in the 19th Century, in 1839 by Robert Cornelius, an US photographer to be more exact.

However, the act of taking self photos, a lot of them, was getting popular along with the popularity of social media platforms themselves. Such photos started to appear repeatedly on MySpace and Facebook during the last decade. The exact word, selfie, began to appear in 2005, and some resources connect the term to the US designer and photographer Jim Krause.
As social media networks like Instagram, Twitter, Tumbler and Path got famous the word also gained popularity. By the end of 2012, selfie was chosen as one of the top 10 buzzwords by the Time Magazine.

Nowadays, selfies are becoming part of our daily lives; everywhere you look, there is someone or a group of people posing for a selfie. It does not matter, in religious, political, full of love, or full of pain set ups, selfies are there.

Few days ago, authorities in the UK were advising voters participating in the European election to refrain from taking selfies with their ballots. Law might not prohibit selfies but revealing votes before announcing the results could face a heavy fine and some prison time.

US President Obama found himself in a number of awkward situations because of selfies. Who would forget the smiling selfie at the funeral of Nelson Mandela with the Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt and British Prime Minister David Cameron. That one caused some uproars with a lot deeming it inappropriate, uncalled for, and totally out of the protocols of diplomacy.

The same happened again when news leaked that the selfie, he was part of with David Ortiz, the baseball player, was staged by Samsung, the phone company to promote one of its products. At least this time, the president showed disapproval of using his photo in a commercial context in that way.

These days, the well-known actor Kevin Spacey is facing a wave of attacks because of a selfie he took with the Mexican president during a tourism promotional event in the country. Mexican journalists were enraged with leaked news that the selfie was staged, with $8 million paid for Spacey to take it with the president as a marketing stunt. Both the accused are denying it though.

In all cases, the next time you take your phone out to freeze that moment in time, be carful before taking it and sharing it with others, because the whole world could be watching.





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