The Selfie – Can You Do Without It?


The selfie.

If you have social media accounts, you’ve probably done it.  If you spend more than a few hours a day on your social media accounts – you’ve probably over done it.

I been reading so many scary articles lately on teenagers, social media, sex and selfies.  Teenage girls are sitting at home staring at their Instagram feeds and counting the “likes” on their latest picture.  Are they showing enough skin?  Do they look too slutty or not enough?  Did the filter make that blemish go away?  Is that boy that they’re cyber-stalking going to press the heart button on their picture when he sees it?

It’s not just teenagers that have succumbed to the selfie monster – it’s us grown ups too.

We do it.

We may not do it for the “hook up”…

But a part of us does it to gage our popularity.

A part of us does it for the self esteem boost.

A part of us hits “post” and then lays back… waiting to bask in the comments of “OMG – you look gorgeous”, “I loooooove your hair”, or  “handsome devil”.

The danger is that too much focus on “the selfie” leads to two things: either narcissism or insecurity…

and the bottom line is that selfies exist entirely in the land of physical appearance.

Even when we try to be “artsy” about it and post a black and white picture of just our eye peeking through our side-swept hair – it’s still a filtered, crafted picture around the physical appearance of our eye… the eye that may or may not have had Visine squirted in it a few minutes before hand.

So many of us have taken five, ten, twenty shots of the same picture to find the one angle that looks the most “natural”.

I do it too.

Last year at around this time, I posted a total of one selfie picture in a month.  This year it’s twenty in a month…

and I’m scared, you guys.

I read an interesting article about What Your Selfies Say About You with this quote:

There’s a sense that selfie subjects feel as though they’re starring in their own reality shows, with an inflated sense of self that allows them to believe their friends or followers are interested in seeing them lying in bed, lips pursed, in a real world headshot.

I don’t want to become one of those people!

I’ve seen it happen.  I’ve felt my affections for other people/bloggers seriously wane as their infrequent selfies eventually turned into dozens of pictures of themselves a day:

  •  Black and white filtered picture of both eyes peeking over the bed sheet.  Hair is slightly messed, but sheet is strategically covering throbbing zit on left cheek.  Caption: ” Good morning, Monday”.
  • Picture of self in bathroom mirror holding toothbrush.  Foamy toothpaste smudged over left-cheek-zit for coverage.  Double processed with the “rise” filter on Instagram for a good glow.  Caption: “Oops!  Furiously brushing.  I blame excessive tequila last night.”
  • Eyes peering up at the camera while red lips rest on a Starbucks to-go cup.  “Lo-Fi”, baby.  Caption:  “Starbucks saves the day.”
  • Walking down the street in new jacket, etc.
  • Side braiding hair at work desk, etc.
  • Putting on lip gloss for Skype call, etc.
  • Picture of me.  Picture of me.  Picture of me, etc.

I’m not saying I don’t like to see your smiling faces occasionally in my social media streams.

I do.

I like to feel connected to you.

I like to be reminded of what you look like outside of your avatar.

Keyword – occasionally.

I think a lot of us have gotten a little too addicted to posting pictures we take of ourselves.

So I’m going to stop…

just for a little while…

and I’d love it if you do it with me.

Let the camera be an extension of your eyes…

of your heart…

Don’t show me what you look like.

Show me what you’re seeing…

what you’re experiencing.

I don’t care what your hair looks like…

and I’m trying to care less about mine.




From October 1st through October 30th, I’m going to try a whole hell of a lot not to post a single picture that I take of myself.  Yes, it ends on Halloween, because SHOW ME YOUR COSTUMES, PEOPLE.

Will you join me?

Would your teenagers and preteens join me?

I triple-dog-dare you.

Put your heart into it…

without putting your “self” into it.


jenni chiu sig








31 responses to “The Selfie – Can You Do Without It?”

  1. Alison says:

    I do love this, Jenni. I don’t take many selfies anyway, so this is easy and perfect for me. And I agree – I would love to see more of what people see too. Brilliant idea!

    • Jenni Chiu says:

      No, you don’t take a lot of selfies… and I don’t hate the “selfie”. It’s just that once I know what your eyes look like, I also want to see your world through them – not just you.
      And I mean “you” in general terms. Not “you”, Alison. 🙂

  2. Alexandra says:

    Great idea, Jenni.

  3. Sili says:

    I say yes. Let’s do this. I will admit I take more selfies than I actually post. Which means that maybe we need to do an “unfiltered selfies” month too. Kinda like the Dove commercials where we bare it all (and by bare it all I mean blemishes and zits, people).

    This is awesome. I’m in!

  4. Jen says:

    I’m so glad my friend Erin shared this on Facebook today. That said, if I wasn’t on Facebook I wouldn’t necessarily have read your post. And the only reason I know Erin is through a post of hers my friend shared on Twitter …. What does all that have to do with quitting selfies? There is a connection — I know it — and I think it has something to do with defining the boundary for ourselves when it comes to social media. To notice the fine line between community and narcissism. I think many of us are hitting that tipping point where we are realizing just how narcissistic we’ve become on SM …and we’re fighting back.

  5. I am up for it! And I like to take the selfies. I think I can make this challenge.

  6. Amanda says:

    I see nothing wrong with selfies. Social media is what it is….Instagram, Facebook, blogs, Twitter, it’s all narcissistic. They don’t show our real us. If comments and likes make a person feel good about themselves so they can go out and be productive members of society, more power to them.

    • Jenni Chiu says:

      I see nothing wrong with occasional selfies. For me, I’ve seen a lot of overkill lately… and there are so many other ways a person can feel good about themselves – other than comments on their physical appearance.

  7. I confess- I do it too! But then I always feel weird about it. So yes- I’m definitely up for the challenge.

  8. Shell says:

    I post maybe one a month, at most.

    I do like seeing what other people actually look like- makes me feel connected. BUT do not overdo it. There was someone who posted at least one if not more selfies every single day- I eventually unfollowed her. Harsh, maybe? But it got old. So did the “do I look okay” constant need for reassurance.

    • Jenni Chiu says:

      It really is the overkill that is getting to me. I’m not against the selfie overall – but I wonder what would happen if some people took the focus off of physical appearance for a little while.

  9. Kat says:

    Love this idea and you’re so right…one of my evening prayers is that the whole world will be cast under an Amaro filter so I might have problem. MIGHT.

    • Jenni Chiu says:

      Oh, you know I’m a filter lover! I just want to refocus a little on how I use apps like Instagram… it’s such a creative way to share our world – without necessarily focusing on physical appearance.

  10. Jennifer says:

    I’m in, but I’m not an obsessive selfie-taker anyway. For all of the reasons you listed. I love this idea.

  11. Elaine A. says:

    I’m totally up for this! I do get pretty tired of the “over selfie” social media users. I don’t think I personally overdo it but then, maybe I do! ha! And also, I am not too happy with my most recent hair cut so I’m sure no one else wants to see it until it grows back out some anyway… 😉

    Seriously, great idea. Love the last two lines of this post…

  12. Greta says:

    I don’t think there’s anything wrong with them, either, as long as it’s not ALL the time. I like to see people’s faces once in a while. I see their kids a lot, but I feel more of a connection when I see THEM. I also think it’s important for moms to be in the picture sometimes. I know that I love to see pictures of my mom when she was younger, and I want my kids to see what I was like, too. Again, I agree that it’s really easy to overdo it. But, I don’t like the idea of a mom hiding behind the camera, either. Why should my husband be in all the birthday party pictures, and not me? 🙂

    • Jenni Chiu says:

      Totally. Keyword – occasionally. I’ve noticed a dramatic shift in my social media streams in regards to the selfie… and I’m just very interested to know how going 30days without it will affect some people. Will it make no difference to some? Will it be hard for others? Will it challenge us to be more creative with our Instagram pics?

  13. Lee says:

    I am so uncomfortable with selfies! Maybe I’m the only one, but I’m always behind the camera and when I went to join an online dating site I didn’t have a picture to put up there because I don’t take any of myself!! I see myself every day in the mirror. That’s more than enough for me!

  14. jen says:

    “The danger is that too much focus on “the selfie” leads to two things: either narcissism or insecurity…a part of us does it to gage our popularity.”


    I totally disagree. I think you are TOTALLY missing something here. Have you seen the work of this artist?

    • Jenni Chiu says:

      Yes, I have seen many self portrait artists… This is not what I’m talking about, nor does it fit my examples above. I am not against the selfie. In fact, I mention how much I enjoy seeing the faces if people I know online. It’s the overkill – the dozens of pointless pictures that are too focused in the physical for me. It depends on who you follow online, but has become a definite trend for some. I would hope that by taking a break from it, some of us might show more storytelling in our pictures.

  15. Love it! I’m in. Now if I had to go a month without posting pixs of my kids I’d be hosed… Ya’ll will just have to wait a month to see me go back to my natural blonde after being blue/black for a year now :). Unless another blogger catches me at an event… No selfies for YOU.

  16. Tracie says:

    I do maybe one selfie a year, but I have a few friends who are of the every day (sometimes more than one a day) school of thought. I love what you said about it not just being “no selfies.” I want to see people sharing more of their hearts and experiences on social media. That Vanity Fair article was heartbreaking.

  17. I don’t post very many selfies, but I do think this is a good idea. Like Shell said, I have unfollowed someone on Instagram because she was posting way too many selfies. I got really sick of it.

  18. I actually take very few selfies. Some, but not a lot. I used to take none, because I hate seeing myself in pictures. Paradoxically, I actually started taking more in the last year because I decided that was a good way to get more comfortable with having my picture taken. And you know what? It worked. I will never be one of those people who posts random selfies a lot and waits for validation, because I’ll never be that comfortable with pictures of myself.

    Having said that, I totally support your 30-day goal!

  19. @afroescher says:

    I find this hilarious because it largely appeals to a demographic who has already outgrown the selfie. By the look of the news story, selfies are already vastly behind on selfie culture. Besides, didn’t the government shut down? Surely there’s more important thing to report on than what kids do on the internet.

  20. […] are anathema to some people, and my friend, MommyNaniBooBoo Blogger Jenni Chiu, created the Hashtag #30DaysNoSelfies, hoping to spark a movement. And fewer […]

  21. Selfies says:

    I like it. Selfies can be senseless, yet there is nothing the matter with reporting your goes with an up-close shot of your own face in it.

  22. […] post originally appeared on and is reprinted here with […]

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