How I stumbled upon selfies back in 2004

Sometimes social culture changes and something becomes acceptable so rapidly that it’s just remarkable. I experienced at least one such event in 2004.

In early 2004, I arrived in the US to begin postdoctoral studies. At that time, I still believed that hard work was necessary and sufficient for success. So I was basically busy working in the lab. I never really developed good social skills, so standard postdoctoral work life in US was “ideal” for me. In our lab, postdocs worked alone on individual projects and we did not have much of a “party” culture.

But there was one problem. I wanted to send my photos to my family back in Georgia, showing my “life” at the workplace or at home. But how could I do it? I did have a cell phone with a silly no-resolution camera and another ordinary 1.2 mega pixel photo camera. But who was going to take my photos? I felt so “embarrassed” to take my own photos since it would have implied that I was alone and that I did not feel comfortable to ask anyone around me to take my photos for me. Basically, the concept of “selfie” was an anti-social concept for me then (and also probably for majority of people in Georgia).

But I needed photos. So, I set my camera to a 10 second timer option and started to make my selfies and sending them to my family via e-mails and hoped that no one on the other side would ask me why I was alone in all these photos. And gratefully no one did. I guess my family was “kind” enough not to make me feel “low”.

However, within a few years the selfie concept became so mainstream that no one would now question a photo where someone is pictured alone. It’s become a norm. Ultimately whether it’s good or not, I am not sure. It does give a person some “freedom” on certain occasions and sometimes I feel “proud” that I inadvertently became a”selfie pioneer” back in 2004 🙂

posted by David Usharauli


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