There are only a handful of us alive today who have not taken a selfie and posted it online.
I am part of this rare breed of dinosaurs because, first of all, it takes having youth and the perfect angle to get a decent selfie – and, second, I’m not willing to die for attention.
Yes, hundreds of people have died in less than ten years from taking selfies. And since we can’t fix narcissism, there are now safer selfie-taking destinations popping up all over the country to deal with the crises.
The Selfie Generation
This whole selfie thing still doesn’t make sense to me.
I know there isn’t always someone around to take your picture when you find yourself in a beautiful spot, but do you really have to always be in the photo?
Call me old-fashioned, but I feel like the purpose of photos should either be 1) to capture a moment in time with, or of, someone you love – a special event, a family portrait, or baby pictures, because those times cannot be recreated – or 2) to capture scenery or architecture that inspires us with its sheer beauty.
Yes, it’s important to have a few photos of yourself once in a while – for the love-of-your-life’s wallet (yes, I know no one does that anymore. I’m making a point.) or so your kids and grandkids can hold onto them for posterity.
But why the heck do people need hundreds, or thousands, of photos of themselves? Unless you’re a celebrity or a magazine model, no one wants to see all that—in fact, most of us don’t want to see all that with celebrities either.
Look, we older folks get it. There’s just something about this latest generation. They love attention; in fact they demand it. And they have the perfect platform in social media, something they’ve never lived without.
Everyone has an Instagram account or uses Snapchat so hundreds of their “close friends” know exactly what they’re up to at any given moment.
It’s “all about me.” All. The. Time.
Dying for Attention
Up until recently, the only time someone might meet an untimely death while taking photos is by going on a dangerous expedition or being a nature photographer.
Other than being mauled by a bear or getting lost in the wilderness, “Death by Photo” was pretty rare.
Enter the “Selfie.” It became the trend of an entire generation sometime after 2010 as people were getting their annual iPhone upgrade and new social media platforms were being introduced.
2014 was deemed “The Year of the Selfie,” and the most pivotal year in determining how we would document our personal life online.
It became nearly mandatory to ‘Like’ or ‘Comment’ on a friend or acquaintance’s selfie.
To not do so was (and still is) to commit some unwritten faux-pas of social media etiquette. “Look at you, sexy! Great haircut! You’re stunning!,” et-cetera, et-cetera, blah, blah.
But something started going very wrong…
People were dying trying to get the best selfies in the most unique – and dangerous – locations possible just so they could get lots of positive feedback (aka attention) and one-up each other on social media.
Before 2011, selfie-related deaths were rare and then… Boom!
From 2011 to 2017, more than 250 people died as a direct result of taking selfies.
The causes of death included, but were by no means limited to…
… a teenage boy being electrocuted while standing on top of a train, a young woman dying of an accidental gunshot wound while posing with a loaded 9mm pointed at her head, a fatal rattlesnake bite while trying to take a selfie with said snake…
… a man who was gorged to death while jumping a railing to take a selfie in the middle of a Running With the Bulls event, and a young man who took a dare to run in front of an oncoming train—and decided to stop and take a selfie on his way. You can imagine how he died.
And there are plenty more – hundreds. In 2019, not a month went by that someone was not critically injured or killed taking a selfie.
Nearly 75 percent of selfie deaths happen to young men, and the median age to die by selfie is 23. Both shocking statistics. Men and young people taking risks for attention?! Never!
Still obnoxious – but a safer alternative.
Since today’s (mostly) narcissistic millennials are going to run the world someday—and probably raise (mostly) narcissistic and entitled children who will run the world after that—the selfie isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.
Someday the smartphone selfie may be replaced by a selfie hologram instantly projected on the wall. Attention-seeking is here to stay.
So, whether consciously aware of the rise in selfie-related deaths or just for pure profit (I’m almost 100 percent certain it’s the latter), there are now “Selfie Museums” popping up all over the place.
No, they’re not galleries of famous or notable selfies. They’re full of unique backgrounds and props so you can get the best selfie ever – without dying in the process.
Some are temporary pop-ups that are heavily marketed and so crowded that you’re likely to get more of a group photo than a self-selfie.
Some are permanent fixtures in major cities – and selfies taken in Selfie Museums are already racking up the likes, #hashtags, and comments on social media.
Denver’s Selfie Museum is a pop-up that promises you’ll “feel like an Instagram celebrity” when you pose in front of their interactive, colorful displays.
Don a pair of angel wings, pose in front of a wall of donuts, or do a handstand on a bed while a friend snaps a photo (not technically a selfie, though).
Their website says “if you have a phone with a camera,” (if your phone doesn’t have a camera you’re stuck – or “SOL” as my dad used to say – and also way more set in your ways than I am) you’ll have the time of your life.
And it’s only around $30 per person to go to a museum full of nothing but themed wallpaper, murals, and fake furniture. I can think of better things to spend my money on, but it’s a thing.
A thing that has swept through Los Angeles, Washington, D.C. and many other major cities.
They’re popping up everywhere, and there are even seasonal pop-up selfie museums, like one for Halloween (wall of Jack-O-Lanterns, anyone?) and others themed for different holidays and events.
L.A.’s Museum of Selfies – SURPRISE!!! – lets you pretend you’re a celebrity for a day by taking a selfie on the red carpet (yes, you get to hold an Oscar), taking a pic in the “Emoji Pool,” or being the Selfie King or Queen for the day by snapping a pic on a giant throne.
29 Rooms in Brooklyn, New York takes it one step further by not only providing lots of interactive selfie-inspiring rooms with props, but also provides entertainment and an actual gallery so you can take a selfie immersed in a group of other people who want to pretend they’re cultured.
As Denver Selfie Museum’s website says, “Long Live the Selfie!”
It looks like this obnoxious trend is here to stay, so if you’re going to take all those pictures of yourself, do it in one of these museums.
A selfie in front of a picture of a waterfall is a far safer activity than taking a selfie in front of a real waterfall and plunging to your death.
Think about it. Are those likes and comments really worth your life? If you think so, then you’re beyond help. If someone I love took a chance like that for a picture, I’d kill them myself.
So visit a Selfie Museum near you and strike a pose to your heart’s content.
I still think you’re obnoxious, but no one deserves a Death by Selfie.