To Selfie or Not to Selfie?

Pre-departure champagne for your thoughts?

Pre-departure champagne for your thoughts?

Philosophical-type post ahead – about selfies in blog posts. Run now if this ain’t your thing.

Way back when, about a lifetime or two ago, I worked in corporate America.

I built relationships with people, primarily via phone and email. Sometimes the relationships grew to a point where I was talking to people several times a day on the phone. We helped each other; I knew the tone of their emails and could decipher their mood by the sound of their voice. In short, I felt like I got to know them.

Every once in a while, I’d try to find these people on LinkedIn or Twitter and was always kinda disappointed when I couldn’t find a picture of them. I wanted a face to put to the voice on the telephone, and to the person behind the emails.

Why I selfie

I like selfies in blog posts and think that, in general, it is a good thing:

  • Readers get to match a face to a voice
  • I feel like it promotes accountability
  • It more readily encourages interaction (which I love)
  • It makes the blog a more personal space and more of a forum

Last week, at the New York Times Travel Show, I was recognized by a reader, which was SO COOL. We had a chat and got into some random travel-related stuff. It was really cool to meet someone who’d read something I put out into the world. I don’t think that would’ve happened had I not put up the occasional photo.

There are some drawbacks, too. I’m giving away some of my privacy, perhaps. Not a huge amount as I’m still just a tiny blog floating out in Internet-land, but maybe a little. That might bring up concerns of safety, or things in that vein. I’ve always sort of been naively trusting that the world is, on the whole, a good place, and I’d like to think having a picture on a blog doesn’t really matter in the long run, one way or the other.

For me, the good things far outweigh the bad. The reader interaction so far has been just incredible. I’m blown away by how many people want to talk about this sort of stuff. Even if it’s negative, at least it’s striking a chord. And I feel it’s in part due to the selfies. I don’t want to limit that in any way, and if anything, want to encourage more of it. I like to come here to post things I find interesting that are travel-related, and really like talking to other people about it.

So that is my intention.

Other views

The main criticisms would be:

  • Pictures of people are not related to hotel reviews, trip reports, etc. There is no need for them
  • It’s a form of narcissism and deserves an outlet somewhere, but not here
  • It’s a distraction from the writing
  • Doesn’t add anything to the post/is useless

For me, a “selfie” (god I hate that word) is a way of declaring “I was here.” I experienced that, I enjoyed that, I traveled there, and I want to remember it.

In a weird way, I remember things better when I take photos of myself in environments. How many pictures have I taken of champagne glasses on an airplane? But somehow I remember the whole scene better when I take a crappy iPhone pic of myself holding the champagne.

Somehow I remember it better

Somehow this helps

It flashes me back to the day, the excitement, the mood I was in, where I was going, what I was feeling about it… and I choose to share that in direct relation to writing about the experience. I feel like it helps jog my memory and and makes my writing more vivid. But quite simply, it helps me to remember.

For that, and in answering the question proposed in the title, I choose to selfie.

Bottom line

I love seeing photos that other bloggers post of themselves – in an airplane lie-flat seat folded out into a bed, or in a lovely hotel room, or just having a great time somewhere. It’s always been one of those things that makes me feel like I can get to know them, and by extension their writing, a little bit better.

Of course I don’t want to have selfies in every post, nor do I want to see them all the time in other people’s blog posts. But sometimes is OK. In a weird way, seeing them kinda feels like checking in with an old friend, and makes me want to explore a blog a little deeper. But suffice it to say, for me it’s a positive thing – and I like when others do it. So I throw them in here and there in case others feel the same way I do.

I’m also still new to BoardingArea and wanted to just go ahead and put it all out there – this is me, hear me roar, and all that other good stuff.

All that being said, do you guys have an opinion of the selfie situation one way or the other? Is it distracting or useless? Or does it add some sort of value to the blog, to the writing… to anything?

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About Harlan

Just a dude living in Memphis, traveling, and working toward financial independence.

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  1. I just hate the word “selfie”. It annoys me. When it comes to my blog reading a selfie every once in a while is fine but don’t over do it. Especially if you are not writing about activities etc you are doing on your travels. I really don’t need to see you eating, laying on your bed etc. But I might like to see a photo of what you are eating.

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