It’s hard to imagine a time before social media apps like Instagram and Facebook became the most compelling reason for taking and sharing photos of ourselves—and we can’t deny how much they’ve changed our threshold for socially acceptable vanity. Instagram was released on iOS some time in late 2010, the word ‘selfie’ was added to the Oxford English Dictionary in 2013, and just a year later, National Selfie Day was established.
Filipinos are probably one of the most notorious selfie-takers, and this was confirmed back in 2014 when TIME released a definitive ranking of “selfiest cities in the world,” with Makati and Pasig City ranking at the number one spot at an average of 258 selfie-takers per 100,000 people. (I wonder what number we’re at now.)
Jun. 21 might be National Selfie Day, but let’s be real: pretty much every day is National Selfie Day here in Manila, we don’t need an official holiday telling us that. So instead, let’s use this holiday to reflect—on selfie-taking etiquette, that is, because no one appreciates obnoxious selfie stick-wielding.
Don’t hog the selfie spot. If you see that there are people waiting to take photos from your vantage point, don’t take your sweet time. Know your angles, take some shots, and vacate. If none are up to par, you can always line up again.
Obey the rules
If there is a no photo policy, follow it. Don’t be one of those edgy kids who sneak a photo just for the sake of showing off. Always be respectful.
Taking selfies in the middle of doing extreme sports, riding fast vehicles, or at the edge of a cliff is sure to get the likes, but is it worth injuring yourself or others for?
Culture and history have become sensitive topics—do you remember last year’s communist hat debacle? Educating yourself on the matter may help prevent any unwanted hostility. Ask yourself, will your selfie (or the act of taking a selfie) offend, insult, or upset anyone? Whether or not to post a photo is up to your discretion.
There is a time and place for selfies. Solemn occasions like wakes or funerals are not one of them.
Ask for permission first
Spotting a celebrity can definitely set people off in a panic. But just because they’re used to being in the spotlight, does not mean they’re okay with a stranger coming up to them for a photo-op. Before you snap that selfie, ask for their permission first. If they decline, then you ought to respect that.
Use your selfie stick wisely
Selfie sticks may indicate your intent to take photos, but don’t expect the people around you to read your movement; you’re supposed to be mindful of their presence, not the other way around. Don’t extend the selfie stick into others’ personal space, don’t block anyone’s path, and please, please, do not flail it around obnoxiously.
Walang basagan ng trip
It can be hard to stop ourselves from judging selfie-takers, but if they’re not causing harm or inconveniencing anyone, then who are we to stop them from having a good time?
Images from Unsplash.