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The Prime Minister brings his best Selfie to Birmingham

29 September 2014 | 06:03 am

CEO James Leavesley Captures Selfie with Prime Minister David CameronCrowdControlHQ
was selected by @Number10gov to take part in #Pitch10 at this years Conservative Party Conference in Birmingham.  It’s always a great honour to talk to people about our product in any environment but to have the ear of government was a special occasion!

We delivered a 3 minute presentation about the evolving landscape of social media, the challenges of brand building and reputation management, alongside key consideration in managing the risks.  The feedback has been really positive.

But as an unexpected bonus, our CEO James, managed to get a ‘selfie’ with the Prime Minister David Cameron. So it seemed appropriate that today’s blog reflected on the growth of the phenomena known as the Selfie! 

Selfies have become ingrained in society, so much so that the Oxford Dictionary bestowed the great honour of awarding the term ‘the greatest word of 2013’. Over the past 12 months, there are very few celebrities that haven’t been caught at some point or other joining in the selfie craze. And Mr Cameron himself has been papped capturing selfies with the great and the good of world politics including President Obama (so James is in good company!).

The craze took a more serious turn in 2014, when cancer research raised over £8 million from the no make-up selfie campaign.  This has led to an array of new branded marketing approaches, geared towards growing public awareness of products and services linked to public competitions and sharing of selfies across social media platforms.

As a result, the national press have spent many column inches commentating on the trend. The Daily Mail, back in 2013 were reporting that over 35million selfies were taken a month as captured in a survey by mobile company HTC.  We wonder what that figure would be today? Double? Triple?

The research discovered that many perceived the selfie as a perfect way to capture a happy moment, with holidays tipping the list as a popular time for people to capture and share the moment with their friends and family. Facebook topped the charts as a popular selfie sharing platform.

Research by Mintel certainly backed up the ‘happiness capture factor’, crediting the growth of social media to the fact that we simply can’t get enough of capturing (and sharing) the moment in a process they call ‘re-imagination’ allowing people to keep revisiting the moment time and time again.

The BBC are quoted as describing the selfie as “the greatest photographic trend of our time.”  Referring to science, they argue that our infatuation with selfies stems from our inability to imagine ourselves accurately. Apparently, people spend time taking many selfie shots until they find the one that matches their reality, which they decide to share.

The Telegraph calls the trend terrifying, blaming the female psyche for influencing people to capture the moment.  Reflecting on University of Strathclyde research where they link selfie to negative body image in women.

Overseas, NBC describe the selfie as ‘vanity factor’ sprinkled with intrigue. An instantaneous ‘fly on the wall’ moment that we should probably not be sharing but we do… and as a viewer we can’t help but look, like and share!

Regardless of whether you opt for the ‘happiness factor’ or attribute some deeper meaningful psychology to them, you can’t get away from the fact that as the British Public we attribute considerable credibility and kudos to the art of selfie taking.  We salute those who have the courage to go up to celebrities and whip out their smart phone and hit the reverse lens button. It appears that the more blurred, angulated and obscure the image, the higher the credibility stakes amongst our peers.

The more kudos we attract, the more likes and shares, we get for our endeavours, the more our social media kudos score goes up! Win-win all round on the popularity stakes.

Will the craze last? There is something reassuringly controlled about a selfie today.  Although presented as spontaneous, spur of the moment,  if the BBC scientist are correct,  the reality is that many people ‘stage manage’ the event and  take multiple images of themselves to allow themselves to select the best ‘them’ to display publicly.

But the introduction of Google glass, iWatch and the raft of wearable technology on its way is certain to add a whole new dimension and personal dilemma for those so practiced at personal moderation.  Spontaneous capture of images by others in ‘real’ situations is likely to be far more problematic, presenting an array of privacy issues for the public to deal with.

In fairness, to Mr Cameron and James, the moment captured was genuinely spontaneous, capturing a split second of a moment in an incredibly busy day.  There was no time for moderation; the image is credible and authentic in every way.  The fact that David was so accessible and game for a laugh has increased his likeability and popularity amongst the team, our friends and followers.

All an indication that the Conservative Party are sharpening up their social media prowess on the run up to the next election!

Big thank you to David Cameron, @eileentso and the #Pitch10 team for giving us such a wonderful opportunity to capture the moment.

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