POSTS WITH TAG: cameras

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    Maybe it started after I saw Ellen DeGeneres take a selfie with the entire star-studded audience of the Oscars this year, but lately, I have been pressing the little "turn the camera around" icon on my phone so I can grab a selfie to document some really important occasions in my life.

    Truth be told, the selfies I've been taking are pretty embarrassing. They're not nude-photo-on-the-Cloud embarrassing, but embarrassing enough that I don't want to share them with you. Okay, since it's just us, I'll share one.

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    Teens kids, adults -- and, cough, cough even President Obama -- take selfies everywhere -- from funerals to math class. But some colleges are getting tougher on the practice of posing for your own pics and then posting them to accounts like Instagram by actually banning selfies from graduation. It's an amazing interesting idea, but one you have to question, given everyone's obsession with photos of themselves. Are you asking for too much when you ask young people to keep their phones home on one of the most important days of their lives?

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    Who do you think invented the selfie? It's definitely not who you suspect. Kim Kardashian may have perfected the art of the selfie, but she's a far cry away from being the inventor. As it turns out, a selfie was taken about 60 years ago in the 1950s, long before everyone else was doing it. And you'll never, ever guess by whom ...

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    I've spent many of my kids' growing-up years working online, with the last few positively engrossed in social media, even more than the typical parent.

    And while I've posted a few potentially mortifying photos of my children in the past, for the most part, I'm extremely careful about what pictures of my kids I put online -- whether it's on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or another site.

    If only other parents would do the same. Here's why it bothers me so much.

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    There have definitely been some odd beauty trends over the years. One of the worst is "thinspiration" -- the cult of thinness, wherein young women starve themselves so they can get things like protruding collarbones, concave stomachs, thigh gaps, and the latest thintacular body attribute: Bikini bridges.

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    Criminals these days just can't seem to get enough of themselves. Instead of stealing, looting, or doing whatever else it is they do and then just trying to get away with their actions -- you know, behavior you'd expect from your typical criminal -- they are finding it difficult to peel themselves away from all forms of social media. And nothing could make police any happier, I'm guessing. 

    Take Dupree Johnson, for example. The 19-year-old Florida teen already had a pretty lengthy rap sheet that included grand theft, burglary, and felony possession of a firearm. Perhaps he could have built a strong enough defense to get away with his crimes -- who knows? And we'll never know. Because the publicity hound dug his own grave and did the world a favor by posting photos on his Instagram that showed him holding guns and items he allegedly stole. 

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    You guys, this is the best animal news of 2013. No, we haven't saved the ice caps for polar bears. No, this is not about another cat-and-space-themed Tumblr. Why do you have to mention that? Now my animal news sounds anticlimactic! Whatever, I'll tell you it anyway. Behold: An eagle grabbed a camera and took selfies of itself.

    Rangers say a young sea eagle snatched up a wildlife camera from a river bank in Australia and carried it aloft to a new location about 70 miles away. The camera kept running and magic happened. Rangers edited the footage into a greatest hits reel complete with self-important selfies. Most remarkable, it appears the eagle resisted the urge to form duck lips or make sparrow face. Since the eagle cannot speak or write, I have provided captions for it.

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    Parents and teachers can tell you that the best way to get an important message across to a child isn't to preach until you are blue in the face. Show, don't tell is a powerful tool and works wonders. One fifth-grade teacher proved this by stepping away from textbooks and instead using herself as a guinea pig to demonstrate to her students just how dangerous it can be to post a photo of yourself online. 

    And the results of her campaign were both extraordinary and even a little frightening: within 24 hours her photo was "liked" by almost 7,000 people on Facebook and shared more than 400 times. And then it made its way onto Reddit. And that's when things started to get really interesting. 

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    I have this Facebook "friend." We'll call her Anne. Anne is a stylish, beautiful adult woman who commutes by train each day to work. Lately, it seems, every one of her days is plagued by the offensive odors and appearances of others. She simply can't handle it when a woman wears clogs, and she seems ready to call the police the second a poor, hungry soul so much as takes out an unwrapped sandwich on the train. 

    How do I know all this? Because she doesn't just rant about it on her Facebook page -- she also provides photographic proof. In other words, she'll snap your photo if she doesn't like you and splash it all over her page for the world to see and mock. It may be legal to do this, but that doesn't keep it from being a totally tacky thing to do. 

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    We already know the selfie has gotten out of control. What used to serve as a whimsical way for, mostly teens, to show the world how much they love themselves and their duck faces has quickly become a way of documenting every single situation in which they've ever been involved in their lives, including scenarios that require you to, ideally, BE in the moment. Like...maybe...Monday's lockdown at Central Connecticut State? Yes, thanks to technology, students were actually able to post selfies during the emergency (which, thankfully, turned out to be a false alarm), even giving them the nifty hashtag #LockDownSelfie

    But before you chastise these young folks, consider this: the selfie may just be helping these teens deal with stress, trauma, and uncomfortable life experiences. And I can think of at least five more situations where you should not be shocked to see a selfie. 

     

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