In 2013, the Oxford English Dictionary added the word “selfie”—i.e. that type of self-portrait taken, generally with a mobile phone, in order for it to be shared with the world.
Obviously, there was some hoopla, but please, remember there was a time when the word “automobile” was added to the venerable pages of the Oxford, too, and people were upset about that. There’s no use to living in the past: the phenomenon must be accepted, and analyzed. Sociologists and marketers have known this for more than a decade, and now we all intuit it, more or less, but nowadays, everything is part of your personal brand.
Who you are is how likeable you are, who you hang out with, what you drive, what you wear, how you talk, what you post about, what you talk about, what events you go to: the social and the private, the personal and the branded, are now collapsed into a single unified image, a single personal brand, that is YOU. It is no laughing matter: because of that personal brand that you might be hired, or fired—just ask Eliot Spitzer.
And it is precisely in this environment that the selfie has become as popular as it now is: you feel the urge to update your brand with photographic evidence of where you are, what you look like, and what you wear. It all makes sense.
And there’s no personal brand out there that wouldn’t be happy to connect their image to that of the new Missoni for Converse collabo sneakers, which is why, it seems, every single person who bought them posted about them, too.
I could write about Jean Baudrillard and about his classic text Simulacra and Simulation, which pre-announced the new personal brand landscape, but then again, why do that? All it takes is a mention, and my personal brand has already gained sophistication. Much like it has done thanks to Missoni and Converse.