Crossville Chronicle, Crossville, TN


April 21, 2014

Tidbits: "Selfie" destruction

CROSSVILLE — Technology continues to profoundly impact our daily lives, from the Heartbleed Bug that put hundreds of thousands of websites at risk of compromising customer usernames and passwords, to the little light that tries to tell me I'm about to run out of gas. Technology also impacts our language, with new words being created to describe the latest gizmo, gadget or trend.

Take "selfie," the 2013 word of the year from the Oxford Dictionary. A "selfie" is a photo you take of yourself and then post to social media sites. Oxford believes the word originated with one of our friends from down-under in 2002, who snapped a picture of his bottom lip after he tripped on a set of steps after being out celebrating a buddy's 21st birthday.

"And sorry about the focus, it was a selfie."

Now, we have all sorts of "selfies" posted every day on sites like Facebook, Instagram, SnapChat and others. These range from "I just got a new haircut and I wanted to show it off" to "Hey, look at me! I'm about to go out on the town with my friends, but first I thought I'd snap a pic of me in front of the bathroom mirror." I'm not personally a fan of the "selfie," but I've taken my fair share, I admit. It always seems like there is this awkward arm angle. You can always tell a "selfie" from a candid shot a friend got. I prefer the picture from the friend.

But "seflies" are here and they are here to stay. People take "selfies" riding down the road, lying in bed, at the gym, at a restaurant, exposing their abs, making funny faces and more. Some have even taken "selfies" of themselves pretending to sleep.

Last week, I saw more than a few of the "I'm at the beach with my toes in the water selfies." As we were trying to get the temperature back up to the 50s and 60s after spring snow shower on Tuesday, these "selfies" were rubbing salt on the wound for those of us not on vacation.

Mental health experts have even identified "selfie" obsessions, and it's not a laughing matter. Some people describe spending hours trying to get just the perfect shot, the perfect angle that makes them look like a superstar. Consulting psychiatrist David Veale at The Priory Hospital in London talks about a rise in those with Body Dysmorphic Disorder who have a compulsion to repeatedly take and post "selfies." A British teen's obsession with snapping the perfect "selfie" led to a suicide attempt.

Obviously, the "selfie" itself is not to blame for these consequences. It's another way the social media takes the same old feelings and emotions most of us deal with regularly and then magnifies them.

I like having Facebook. It's great to catch up with old friends and see what my far-flung social network is up to. But it can also take those things like keeping up with the Joneses or seeking approval to a new level. There have been studies that show Facebook use can lead to depression. People get down in their statuses aren't liked or responded to.

"Selfies" are much like this. If you post a picture of yourself and people don't like it or comment on it, does that mean you have some flaw? No, but if you already are struggling with issues of body image or depression, it can make you think that. If you find yourself struggling with depression, there are resources available to help you. Reach out to the friends and family you have "in real life," and find the balance you need to have a healthy, happy recovery.

Of course, not every person posting a "selfie" is seeking approval or fishing for compliments, but I wonder sometimes how well thought out some of them are. Sometimes, when taking a picture, we focus on the smile, the eyes, etc., but we don't notice the background, like a dirty bathroom. If you're taking a picture in your bathroom, you might want to get the dirty clothes out of the frame.

Also, many of our young people may not realize that their posts now will never go away. Be mindful of the image you are projecting into the world. Forego the skimpy "selfie" with the puckered up lips or the beer bottle "selfie."

The best "selfies" are those where you're just being you. Don't try too hard. Be yourself because lots of people out there like you for your personality — not your great hair or your six-pack abs or because you gained or lost five pounds.

• • •

Heather Mullinix is assistant editor of the Crossville Chronicle. Her column is published on Tuesdays. She may be reached at

Text Only
  • Tidbits: The excitement of election day

    On March 12, 1996, there were 427,183 votes cast in the presidential primary election. Among those votes was mine, the first vote I cast in an election, just two days after my 18th birthday.

    July 21, 2014

  • Raising the minimum wage

    My first job from which FICA was withheld was a minimum wage job, seventy-five cents an hour. And yes, even then no one could live on that little money. However, I was a high schooler living at home where my father provided room and board. The job gave me pocket money to buy gasoline, to take my girlfriend out for movies and burgers, and to buy tickets for baseball games.

    July 21, 2014

  • Lion and the Lamb: Children on the move

    The news this past week has focused on the humanitarian crisis developing on our southern border. Thousands of unaccompanied children from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras seeking to escape from the violence, human trafficking and extreme poverty in their countries have been entering the United States.

    July 15, 2014

  • We the People: Memo to gun rights groups

    The recent incident in California helps us understand why we cannot rely on mental health services alone to solve the problem of gun violence.

    July 15, 2014

  • Tidbits: Make the best of your road trip

    I didn’t care for road trips when I was young. It was so confining to have to sit in the back seat, staring out the window for hour after hour, hayfield after hayfield. And when you’re a kid, time doesn’t pass like it does when you get a little older. Just the trip from Jamestown, TN, to Crossville, roughly 30 miles, felt like an eternity!

    July 14, 2014

  • Stumptalk: Biased climate agenda will cost trillions

    For anyone who has been educated in the history of science and scientific method, this whole issue of “Global Warming” or “Climate Change” is an embarrassing and painful exercise.

    July 14, 2014

  • Lion and the Lamb: Time for an oil change

    The land of Iraq, earlier known as Mesopotamia, has a long history going back to Neanderthal times some 60,000 years ago. Later, around 10,000 years ago, it became the site for some of the most important developments in human history: the invention of the wheel, planting of cereal crops, the development of cursive script, mathematics, astronomy and agriculture. Today it is recognized as one of the cradles of civilization.

    July 8, 2014

  • We the People: American women, be informed and vote

    Voting for today’s Republican Party and its Tea Party members, means you are voting against more than most realize.  This is especially true for women.

    July 8, 2014

  • TIDBITS: Beat the heat in July and August

    I hope everyone enjoyed the Independence Day weekend, with lots of celebration and fun. We couldn’t have asked for better weather this July 4, or 5 or 6. In fact, it was so nice I was tempted to try and bottle some of that sunshine, low humidity and gentle breeze that greeted me each morning.

    July 7, 2014

  • STUMPTALK: Demand better from government workers

    In a recent congressional hearing we learned that the VA awarded excessive bonuses to nearly all of their doctors and administrators. In a recent column we mentioned that the civil service employment provisions should be revised so that federal employees in the executive branch could be fired if they don’t perform to the satisfaction of the president. The president would then know that he (or she) will be solely responsible for any failures of the administration and would be more likely to demand hiring competent employees and insist on satisfactory performance.

    July 7, 2014

Marketplace Marquee
Must Read
Section Teases
Seasonal Content
AP Video
Raw: Israel Bombs Multiple Targets in Gaza Veteran Creates Job During High Unemployment Raw: Cargo Craft Undocks From Space Station Widow: Jury Sent Big Tobacco a $23B Message New Orleans Plans to Recycle Cigarette Butts UN Security Council Calls for MH 17 Crash Probe Obama Bestows Medal of Honor on NH Veteran Texas Sending National Guard Troops to Border Hopkins to Pay $190M After Pelvic Exams Taped Foxx Cites Washington 'Circus Mirror' NASA Ceremony Honors Moon Walker Neil Armstrong Obama Voices Concern About Casualties in Mideast Diplomacy Intensifies Amid Mounting Gaza Toll AP Exclusive: American Beaten in Israel Speaks Obama Protects Gay, Transgender Workers Raw: Gaza Rescuers Search Rubble for Survivors Raw: International Team Inspects MH17 Bodies Raw: 25 Family Members Killed in Gaza Airstrike US Teen Beaten in Mideast Talks About Ordeal 'Weird Al' Is Wowed by Album's Success
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Weather Radar
2014 Readers' Choice
Graduation 2014