A couple of weeks ago, Twitter was abuzz because of an intriguing photo. It showed US Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton waving at a crowd that had its back to her. A closer look revealed how the crowd had its phones raised in unison; it was a collective attempt at clicking the perfect selfie. When Clinton’s official photographer Barbara Kinney photographed this opportune moment, she, in effect, reiterated the popularity of the selfie.
Given how common an accessory the smartphone has become, is it any wonder that the selfie culture has redefined the way we interact with each other? In a world united through social media, it is perhaps not surprising to see the celebs (political and glamorous) at the forefront.
Kinney’s photo worked for Clinton in that it went viral; the picture has obviously been useful, considering that the US election is just a month away. Closer home, the competitive spirit among our celebs may not be as pronounced, but it doesn’t take away from the fact that posing for selfies with fans is an important part of image building today.
Aim and shoot
“Selfies are part of all celebrities’ tool kits, along with their carefully selected outfits and colourful entourages,” stresses digital evangelist Sree Sreenivasan. “Selfies help connect celebrities with fans thirsting for behind-the-scenes exclusive content, even if it’s staged and shared with millions of others. In the hunt for the most potentially viral selfies, you see celebs going to extraordinary lengths to set up unusual photos and perspectives.”
Without a doubt, selfies give fans a real high. But what’s in it for the celebrity? “The quality of being a selfie-friendly celeb means that the said celebrity is an approachable personality, and it puts the star at an advantage as his or her image is bound to get a boost,” says Dr Rakhi Anand, clinical psychologist, Indraprastha Apollo Hospital, New Delhi.
Celebs themselves believe selfies with a fan make the fan feel much closer to them. “They feel part of your life through your (social media) feeds,” says actress Nargis Fakhri. “Selfies do help make you seem accessible, but I don’t think they really dictate the fans’ perception of you (me).”
Actor Arjun Kapoor too thinks of the selfie as “a positive affiliation”. “To me, each selfie taken is a ticket sold,” he says. “Today, posing for a selfie is a natural thing to do for one’s fans; there is no strategy behind it. At least I don’t look at it that way.”
Smile - you’re going viral
Actors may be politically correct, but what about their image-makers? On one hand, they recognise that celeb selfies are more likely to go viral. But they are also quick to say that these selfies cannot be described as an ‘agenda’. “Today, autographs have been replaced by selfies,” says Monika Bhattacharya, general manager, Yash Raj Films Communications. “Stars try to make time for selfies because they know it will mean the world to a fan.”
The fact is that selfies often go beyond narcissism – be it bearing testimony to the spirit of camaraderie or helping assess one’s fitness levels. And let’s face it, celebs and their fans alike are looking forward to epic selfies from the upcoming Global Citizen Festival India. After all, who doesn’t want a selfie with Coldplay? And why wouldn’t Coldplay want a selfie with a Bollywood star? It would be a complete win-win situation.
Follow @PrabhuVidya on Twitter
From HT Brunch, October 16, 2016
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