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The Selfie Semiotics: 10 Types of Selfies your friends are clicking – Top 10 Lists & facts

Selfie, or the erstwhile “Nobody- clicks- my- pictures-so-I-will-click-my-own” photo, is a phenomenon you cannot ignore.  

Owing to its omniscience and popularity on the internet, the term “Selfie” has earned itself not just the title of “International Word of the Year 2013” by the Oxford Dictionary(Nice going Oxford!), but also a special place in the collective consciousness of internet users worldwide.

Sure, your inner voice may have said “FAIL” at the sight of your homely colleague seductively pouting for her camera or you may snigger maliciously at the chubby guy at the restaurant fighting his primal urges to patiently pose with a forkful of Spaghetti Bolognaise. But ask yourself this question, how many of those embarrassing selfies do you have locked away in your cell phone gallery?

Selfies reflect what we ultimately want to convey about ourselves to the world. It’s an extension of self exploration and projection. We are here to deconstruct the semiotics of the popular ones and what they basically stand for. Get ready for Selfie 101.

Below are 10 popular types of selfies.

10. Duck-face Selfie

Probably the most recognizable and the most ridiculed selfie ever, but nothing has affected its popularity. What makes the duck-face selfie the Holy Grail among its kind you may ask? For starters, It involves seductively pursing ones lips while tilting one’s head at an angle, giving an impression of a sharp facial profile and pronounced cheek-bones. It may fulfill an evolutionary purpose – attracting a mate by mimicking genetically superior supermodels and their bone structure. The effect may be doubled, tripled, or quadrupled depending on the number of people in the picture, as the combined attraction of three duck-faced individuals is more formidable than that of one. Although the females are often accused of being the perpetrators of duck-face assaults on the internet, the male of our species aren’t lagging behind either. Ask Rihanna.

9. Force-A-Pet Selfie

While posing with pet may not seem like an egregious notion, more often than not it usually involves a reluctant pet or a baby. Many substitute pets with reluctant babies and the results are often similar. This, we believe, is usually done to exhibit a slight sensitive side. Here’s a tip: Next time you want to show off your sensitive side, try not to force a hapless pet into the frame.

8. Goofy-selfie

The goofy selfie involves a self portrait with bizarre comical faces. Goofy selfies are a show of defiance; it’s a statement against the usual pretty ones. These pictures roughly translate to, “DEATH TO DUCK-FACE! I’M A NON CONFORMIST AND I’M TOTALLY FUNNY! YOU BETTER BELIEVE ME!”We get it, you are uncomplicated. Let’s just say your idea of having fun equals  sticking tongue out, squinting eyes and doing all sorts of embarrassing shenanigans to convince people how whacky, kooky, nutty and daffy you and your homies are. Celebrities like Cara Delevigne and Miley Cyrus have effectively helped in unleashing this plague upon humanity. Sadly-much like its other annoying cousins- the goofy selfie is here to stay. Be very afraid!

7.  Looking-Away Selfie

 Looking away selfie is another defiant one, much like the goofy selfie. It implies that you have better things to do in life than make eye contact in pictures. It also means “I’m not a narcissistic idiot to stare right into the camera, instead ill stare into space and ponder upon the meaning of life.”Eric Cartman sums up this sentiment in an episode where he states, “No no no! Haven’t you guys ever seen an album cover? You’re supposed to be standing in random places, looking away like you don’t care”. The idea is to make it seem as if one was click unawares while pondering upon the many futilities of life, so it is essential that you mind that selfie arm.

6. High- Angle Selfie

The high angle is one of the many flattering Myspace angles. This shot mainly serves those who are not particularly confident about their bodies. A high angle shot assures focus on the face while obscuring the body. A boon for the chubby, skinny and the all encompassing” my-society-does-not-approve” body types , this selfie is particularly beneficial if one has a pretty face to go with it.  Such selfies are often combined with soft lights to give the subject an archangelic look.

5. Awkward-hand Selfie

Were there instances when you threw up a little in your mouth each time you saw some kid do peace sign in his selfie?  Cut that poor kid some slack, he may have had no clue what to do with that free hand. Selfies exhibiting various hand gestures like the peace sign or the gangster signs are often indicative of the person’s affiliation with cultural groups. It could, in most cases, be a mechanism to deal with the awkwardness of posing. There is a two-fold benefit to this pose; apart from managing that free hand, the awkward -hand selfie also helps you look completely street. Badass!

4. Nerd Selfie

Some of us are blessed with superior intellects with proclivities for various intellectual feats such as gathering information or excelling at math, while many of us just buy thick-framed glasses. The quickest and the easiest way to give an impression of genius, these selfies are the intellectual equivalents of photoshopped pictures. Alternatively, they can also communicate the subject’s sense of quirkiness and non-conformism since western society tends to deride nerd culture. A product of the Hipster movement, the nerd selfie can also be a sign of solidarity towards the geeky kind and the rejection of everything that is conventional.

3.  Sleeping Selfie

Everybody is guilty of the sleeping selfie (come on admit it!). Sleeping selfie involves clicking one’s own picture while lying on the bed with feigning sleep. Eyes closed and curled in a fetal position, sleeping people have an endearing infantile charm (no matter how obnoxious he is otherwise). This is precisely the objective behind the sleepy selfie; it attempts to showcase the subject’s vulnerable side. However, nice try; we know it’s a selfie and that you are not exactly asleep.

2. Affection-overload Selfie

Ok! We get it, you luurrvv your BFF so much that you need to lez it up for the cameras. Affection-overload selfies are quite a rage among girls.  These self portraits involve “best friends” posing for the lens, huddled up real close (even air can’t pass through) often having one of the subjects planting a peck on the other. Such syrupy selfies are mainly meant to show the world how close you are to your BFF even if her name is stored as “Haley the Harlot” in your contact list.

1. Food Selfie

Just what we need on a Wednesday afternoon at work- The four-o-clock hunger pangs have just picked up some momentum when that gluttonous Facebook acquaintance decides to post of a picture of herself with a moist cake.  “Heh! I hope It goes straight to her thighs!” you mutter a curse under your breath, but you can help ogling at the perfect buttercream rosettes. Food selfies cut through nationalities, races, religion and gender as far as their popularity is concerned. Instagramming food is now a legitimate hobby.(How about Food Pornographer as a profession?)The objective may range from inducing jealousy to showing off culinary skills on social networking sites.

Nobody, not even Barrack Obama is safe from the scintillating charm of the selfie. Much like one’s offspring, the world may not deem it spectacular, but you think yours is a gift to humankind. (Fine! The awkward comparisons stop here).