Selfie… How many likes is your life worth?
Atualizado: 1 de Out de 2018
One of the greatest American artists, and "father of pop-art“ - Andy Warhol - said in the 1960s: "one day everyone will have their 15 minutes of fame" and "Death can really make you a star (celebrity)” ... Warhol was one of the most creative artists of the 60s and 70s who contributed enormously to the world of contemporary art and culture in general, his life and his artistic production are the subject of numerous articles and books and everyone agrees that he, without any data of reality in his time, anticipated virtual reality, made apology for fame, but mainly, denounced it.
It is in the (virtual) contemporary world of Social Networks that we will try to understand this ambitious race for fame, or better, for "15 minutes of fame", running after hundreds or thousands of “likes” and "followers", even if the price of it is the life. This one is the context in which we will be discussing Selfies.
“My kingdom for a horse”… not anymore! My life for thousand likes!
The year 2014 is considered the year of the Selfies, it is a milestone to analyse this phenomenon which is growing everywhere. Selfie's first reliable death toll was reported in March 2014. The news was so surprising and frightening that a PhD study group was set up at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh (USA) to understand how those deaths by Selfies happened. In 18 months of research (March 2014 to September 2016) 127 deaths were reported worldwide in the Media, 60% of them in India (76 deaths), and 90% of Indian cases occurred by water. In other countries self-deaths occurred on precipices, waterfalls, and mountains, and 70 percent of those who died were younger than 24 and were male. Brazil did not enter in this first list probably due to lack of news in the Media that happened to report these accidents more recently.
The research also found that the motivation for risking oneself at cliffs and high-rise buildings to do a Selfie was to impress social media followers.
On the Western side, Russia leads the statistics of deaths and serious accidents with Selfies. Ordinary people and even Russian professional photographers cultivate profiles on Instagram and other networks with thousands of followers, basically exploring photos taken at altitude - in the Russian case it’s done over buildings and very tall constructions and in extremely risky positions - the photos in general are glamorous and very well produced, exerting strong attraction among young people. Some of the "famous" Russian netizens on the networks died during the photos (in 2015 and 2016) sparking an alert to the Russian authorities about government measures aimed at prevention.
"Even a million 'likes' on social media are not worth your life and well-being" - Russia’s Ministry of Internal Affairs
"Even a million ‘likes’ on Social Media are not worth your life and well-being" is the leitmotif of the Russian Campaign, launched in 2015, prompting young people to think twice before venturing into dangerous situations to take a Selfie. They made a small illustrated book, beside of posters distributed throughout the Country.
In Brazil, cases are increasing (but we do not have official statistics). In addition to Selfies at various altitude locations in urban areas, in the last 2 or 3 years young people of Santa Catarina started a Self-esteem modality in cliffs and waterfalls, they denominated this practice as BEIRISMO (roughly equivalent to BORDERISM - on the edge of) and even mention the Russians saying that in Russia the Selfies are in buildings and here, among them, the Selfies are in beautiful natural landscapes. With this suggestion we witness an increase in the race of young people, lovers of nature or adventure tourism, for this practice of Selfie on the verge of abysses in nature. Some warn in their posts that "Beirismo must be done by professionals", but there are no 'professionals' of Beirismo, this is not a sport, it is an extremely risky practice, a bad example and one of the most dangerous attractions for adventure tourism today in Brazil.
Mountains, cliffs, waterfalls, rough trails, in fact numerous places in altitude are dangerous in themselves, they need total attention of the visitor and the risk is greatly increased if the person disperses to take pictures, mainly Selfies.
Enjoy your adventures in nature, this is an experience of yours to be kept in the memory for enrichment of your life experiences and not for risky photos to share.
Illustrations: under CC0 License
Russia: ‘Safe selfie’ campaign lauched by government
2015 - The year of dangerous selfies https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2015/dec/28/selfies-danger-death-2015