I am FASCINATED by not only social media, but particularly our photographic documentation of life through it. (Clearly, I post and talk about said fascination morning, noon and night. One would think it gets old … but it DOESN’T! BAHHHH!!! SUCKAASSSSSS!!!)
Alrite, remember the in the mirror myspace picture?
I can’t get enough of it. I feel like it says so much about who we are as people.
I started using Myspace in 2005 as all of my collegiate friends back east started getting on Facebook; I didn’t want to be left out. As anyone from back then remembered, or if you just saw the movie, in the early days of social media, you had to have a college ID address to create a Facebook account. Tangent: I have a theory as well, that myspace was so synonymous with being “ghetto” because in fact lesser educated people were among the early adopters. Think about that for a second …
When social sites were first established, one of the first things we all did when we created our pages, was to select a default picture. K … cool … but remember this was back in 2005, pre every.single.person. in the world having a digital camera (or camera phone); the last time we took a picture we actually liked, we were at Grandma Betty’s BBQ in Poughkeepsie. Might cramp our style if we’re trying to get laid. Dude, chicks dig plaid pants. No joke … schmexy.
People weren’t taking pictures nearly as often as they do now. Period end of sentence. Anyone who owns a mac has photobooth, but let’s again – face facts that not everyone can afford a mac. What were people to do? Take pictures of themselves in the mirror.
Super, easy, efficient way to capture a photo. Not everyone was capable of setting a timer, running back, and making sure they were still in the picture and not looking like a total dweeb.
Makes sense, and totally spurred a cultural phenomenon.
YouTube exploded with tutorials on how to successfully take a Myspace picture:
Wait, kid. are you kidding me? TURN OFF THE FLASH ON THE CAMERA, HOLD IT AS STEADY AS POSSIBLE, AND CLICK SNAP. Omg. Wow, I just made all of you dumber by subjecting you to that video. I am so sorry, that was horrible.
How many times did he call himself a genius too? Wow. Insane.
HAHA, but wait actually – kinda funny. I never thought about doing it that way. Pretty clever, but also way too complicated. People are stupid, mate. No really – people are phenomenally predictable and incredibly dumb. There’s no way that many people would have put that much effort into taking a picture when they can just turn off the flash so that the light doesn’t block out their image.
K … back we go … Myspace’s Tom even jumped on board, and switched his iconic default to keep up with the cool kids in 2007 from this:
to this …
Note the flash … and Tom, dude – clean the mirror.
Then of course, fast forward to 2009 – Facebook boomed in business due to the recession, the general ease (no HTML comments, music, and solid :15 second waiting time per profile), and because people frankly were looking for connections to the realness of it all after losing who they were as they once placed their value in their jobs, belongings – etc. But what happened to the in the mirror pictures? Why didn’t they move on over to Facebook too?
When it comes to our social networking, we have a certain degree of social media responsibility. Myspace was a bit more public – still post yahoo chat, AIM … but I felt like on Myspace I could be a bit more of a rockstar and have more of an alter ego. Myspace was where I wanted to go to be the person that I wanted to be versus accept who I am like I do on Facebook. Seriously, Facebook is way more incestuous. Pictures are tagged, mutual friends happen, high school friends find you – there’s no escaping the Facebook web; and honestly, that’s what made it so popular to begin with. It feels into its own viral-ness. PPUURRRRRR!!!
In the mirror pictures were instantly labeled douchey, and for a few years it looks like they were laid to rest for good. That was, of course, until Twitter came along, and photo services like twitpic, plixi, and uber-twitter started to happen.
Oh yes, they’re back!
Albeit, this chica here is an adult entertainer … for her personal brand, I’m sure this makes sense. But anyone who studies trends and influencers will tell you – these are the people we look to first. Porn and gamers. Well, porn, gamers, and high school kids – but I didn’t want to post a picture of a high school kid for fear of parentals coming after me. STAYYY AWAYYYYYY!!!!! I’m not a creeper I promise!!
Think about it though … twitter is way more public. I am very literally my own personal brand, I’m always shocked when my friends from like middle school find me on twitter. I was like, really? Are we besties on here now too? Feels kinda weird. Twitter to me is more about less of who I want to be, and actually even more of who I actually am, but not in a photographic sense. I feel a bit awkward posting pics of just myself on Twitter; I get more excited about posting random discoveries I’ve had throughout the day.
I never got into the whole myspace in the mirror pics. In fact, I even went through my entire myspace account prior to posting this just to confirm. HAHA! I was so not about to live in a glass house and throw stones. I think honestly, it had more to do with the fact that I’ve had a macbook pro since 2007, so no matter what I didn’t really need to do the “in the picture thing.”
Kinda got me thinking though this afternoon, are there ever any valid reasons to post an in the mirror picture? I took to twitter to find out.
After taking all of those suggestions into consideration, I have come up with the top 5 reasons one should EVER take a picture of themselves in a mirror. Ready? K …
1. You are sexting back and forth with a sexy mate, and want to take it to the next level. Why not show some skin? Throw on some lingerie, or other equally naughty piece of loveliness, and snap a pic of yourself in the mirror displaying said loveliness.
(Just remember, don’t put the face in the shot incase you ever become famous and they leak. Or if you do become famous – and have naked or nearly naked pictures, grab a friend who’s an awesome photographer and have him or her take pics of you in an equally revealing way. You’ll totally cockblock the ex by reducing the value of the picture. HAHAHAHA!!! SUCKA!)
2. You bought a new outfit, and are either so ferociously fashion forward – or are a walking, talking, what not to wear. Friends DEFINITELY need to be called in before bar hopping can commence. Snap the pic in the mirror, it’s cool – just don’t post it, cause that’s not cool.
3. You’re about to have self portraits taken, and you need to know which smile is your best. Seriously! Senior pictures, class photos, work photos – this is the digital age, kiddies! Those things don’t just end up in some book anymore, they are archived in google in perpetuity. Make sure that smile is good peoples!!!
4. You got a new haircut, and cannot see it from the back. Dude, I have totally done this before – even when it just came to testing out a new hairstyle. This one is a MUST, and a perfectly valid reason to take a pic of yourself in a mirror.
5. Artistic expression. There are definitely times in my life where I have found something really really really rad in a reflective surface and taken a picture of it. These can be pretty cool. Like dude, look at this one from a shoot I did in Florida … pretty rad!
Well, technically speaking – I was just checking my makeup at the time and he came up behind me to take the picture. Either way, a mirror was involved in the general composition, and in this case it was perfectly acceptable.
I think, er at least hope, you are all catching my drift in this. If you ever have to ask yourself “is this too douchey to post?” the answer is always – YES!!!!!!!!!!
Social sites will come, and go but remember – google images last forever.
Thanks guys for all the tweets for this post btw. You make my life. No really. Like I wanna make out with you now. Is that cool? K.