01/09/2016 12:23 PM IST | Updated 03/09/2016 1:07 AM IST

Sold On Selfies

Recently, I went on a trip to Nainital with a couple of old friends from college. One of them had come from the US and among his American goodies was a selfie stick. He thought that this contraption was still unfamiliar in India. To his amazement, and, honestly, to ours too, Nainital seemed to be all about selfies and selfie sticks. Everyone from footpath vendors to electronic shops seemed to be selling them like hot cakes. And to my American friend's utter disappointment, at a fraction of the cost he had bought his selfie stick for.

Selfies are not only being used by brands for promotion but are also furthering social causes.

All across Mall Road, you could find tourists taking selfies, with or without the sticks. In fact, our cab guy would halt the car at specific locations during our sightseeing tour, with the advice, "Madam, idhar aap log selfie le lo, acchi aayegi (Take a selfie here, it'll come out well)." At times it actually felt that the trip was one long selfie sojourn!

Thanks to our camera-enabled smartphones, we have become the selfie generation. We love to be clicked, we love to show off and we love to share on social media. And brands are lapping up this trend.

In 2014, from NaMo to NatGeo, everybody had their own selfie story.

Bajrangi Bhaijaan

Art got inspired by life when The Chainsmokers and our desi Bajrangi Bhaijaan made their own dedications to the selfie trend. But that was 2014 and 2015.

Cut to 2016. Moving beyond the simple tactic of "use our product, post a selfie", brands are looking for new ways to capitalize on the selfie syndrome.


Amazon has filed a patent application for a process that will allow shoppers to make a purchase by taking a photo and/or video of themselves rather than keying in their account password. The application aims to make it safer for shoppers to buy something online by relying on their images instead of a password, which can be hard to remember and dangerous when stolen.


ChocolateSelfie's entire business model is based around selfies. The mobile app allows consumers to print, with edible ink, photographic-quality images onto chocolate products such as lollipops and bars.

Game On, Selfie On

And selfies are not only being used by brands for promotion but are also furthering social causes.

OPPO F1 Plus partnered with YouWeCan Foundation to launch a charity campaign called "Game On, Selfie On" to raise awareness about cancer and facilitate screening for the disease.

Transgender North Carolinians took selfies to take a stand against the state's controversial anti-transgender bathroom law. Following the tragic Orlando shooting, same-sex couples shared PDA selfies using the hashtag #TwoMenKissing and #TwoWomenKissing as a direct action against the homophobia connected to the attack at Pulse, a gay nightclub.

So accept it or not, selfies have become ingrained in our social milieu.

We all march to the beat of a new anthem: "But first, let's take a selfie!"

I still remember the big fat camera which my dad had given mom as a wedding gift and which was part of all my childhood vacations. It was packed with extra precautions and my mom had it next to her throughout the train journey, lest somebody steal it from her. Our trips would be incomplete without going to the studio and getting the negatives converted. Several tea parties were organized for friends and relatives to come and see our vacation album.

My mom has come a long way from there. She now uses her smartphone and posts pictures on Facebook and WhatsApp in near real time.

We all march to the beat of a new anthem: "But first, let's take a selfie!"

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