The word self-image is usually understood as someone’s mental construction of themself, which may or may not correspond with their looks and social behaviour. Compare the newly-coined selfie, which is definitely a physical image of oneself, taken by oneself on a smart phone camera, and expected to attract positive evaluations to oneself from social media “friends”. Whether it enlarges the number of “friends” is not to be taken for granted, since the selfie is seen by some as a symptom of lacking friends who could take your photo for you. There’s the tell-tale arm caught on the side of the image which connects with the self actually pictured. It could also get you into trouble, now that Google’s image-matching algorithms can match up photos of a well-groomed person with that dishevelled character after a wild party. Yet the temptation to circulate images of themselves is too much for the so-called selfie king or selfie queen – those who need to preside in the virtual world of self-imaging. There it’s the rule of the selfie, by the selfie, for the selfie, until the cloud that supports it all disappears into thin air… like the image of the handsome Greek Narcissus on the surface of the pond.
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