Taking and posting selfies on social media what to do and not do

Updated in November 2018.

This is the second post in 2-part series on selfies for blogs. The first part can be visited here: selfies for blogs - share your joys.


This selfie taken after voting 
by India's new PM, Modi,
in May '14 got enormous response 
on Twitter.
Self-photos are taken either with some preparation or instantly. We will not talk here about selfies taken with preparation and will like to call them portraits or portfolio shots rather than selfies. 

A selfie in its true sense is for sharing and enjoying-together rather than for archival or fashion purposes. 

The selfie MUST communicate a feeling, even if it is a still pose. It must, even without a caption, convey what you want it to convey. 

Some do's and don'ts on taking and sharing selfies:

  • Remember that the basic purpose of a personal photo is to show one in good light. This goes even more for a selfie. Avoid posting ‘this is how I’m looking after getting up from the bed’ selfie.
  • Be playful, be silly, but not too much. On one hand, do not look aloof, posing stiff-necked or showing smile just for photograph; on the other hand, do not look vulgar or kiddish [unless you purposely want to show yourself that way].
  • People often pose with lots of trees and flowers behind them, especially when they are on a trip to a scenic place. Nature is fine and it looks good in photos, but it usually makes selfies cluttered. So, unless it is very unusual [e.g. a distant snow-clad mountain range or a curtain-like waterfall behind you], do not include it in the selfie. If you must take a selfie to establish your presence in a beautiful location, at least keep the surroundings at a distance so that you come out much bigger than them. 
  • You might want to highlight facial details or show off accessories. Just take care to focus right and have proper lighting. Add proper caption so that people don't mistake your intent.
  • Do not overdo. No more than one selfie in an album of 8-10 photos. On a blog post, no more than one selfie. No more than one selfie even in a series of 2-3 posts. [We are not talking about portfolio or a series of fashion photos or a series of funny faces to amplify emotions: these are often photos taken with a professional purpose in mind and are not selfies in its true spirit.]  
  • Photos of people when they are taking selfies look good, but this has been overdone.
  • Add a nice caption to the photo. The caption should be short and crisp, and should complement the mood of the selfie.
  • Do not take selfie in a situation where you will invite undue attention. Do not take selfie during a tragic event. Do not include people in embarrassing situations or being seen in poor light. Do not expose people’s private lives in the garb of selfie. 
  • Pause before you upload the selfie on the web. Even if you have erred while taking a shot, a bit of self-control and caution at the time of posting is what can save embarrassment and legal problems. Remember, once you post it to the public, some of it has gone into the web and is out of your control even if you remove it after sometime.
  • Finally, do not risk your or somebody's life while taking selfie at a risky place/ situation. Many people have lost their lives taking selfies posing at cliffs or on top of skyscrapers, standing on slippery pebbles in a river, against tidal waves etc. This blogger couple, for example, lost their lives in one second while posing for a selfie at Yosemite National Park, California.  

Why not publish posts with selfie sometimes on your blog?

As we discussed in the previous post, blogs should not have too many selfies the way these are found on social networking sites. But selfies eminently suit some types of posts and we should make use of this wonderful thing to share our joys with others. 

Selfies go well with personal, travel, photography and beauty/ fashion blogs but can be used sometimes on many other types of blogs. Consider putting a selfie when you write your next post on:
  • a recent trip to a hill station
  • a recent quiet but significant achievement [e.g. selfie with the certificate in front of you]
  • your or others' creations [e.g. selfie with a new dish, on your food blog; with your new book, on your literary blog; with cover of book you are reviewing; with your or somebody's artwork, on your art blog]
  • an award ceremony [e.g. you with a trophy you just received]
  • a social event [e.g. picnic, birthday, party]
  • a family get-together or visit [e.g. selfie with your grandma when you visit her in the village]
  • personal fashion [e.g. a new ear-ring you were gifted on your marriage anniversary or how you dressed up for your college farewell party]
  • a celebrity
  • a person you will interview or feature on a blog post [e.g. selfie with another blogger whose interview you'd carry on your blog] 
We found this useful post on CNET on some selfie tricks.