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The Dangerous Quest for the Ultimate Selfie

More people have died to capture the best self-potrait – but why are people still jumping on the bandwagon?

At least 12 people have died this year while taking pictures of themselves compared to eight recorded deaths due to shark attacks in 2015, according to tech news site Mashable.

Yes, you’re now more likely to die from a selfie than from shark bites.

In other words, people are literally dying to take a picture of themselves.

In Russia this year there have been a handful of selfie-related fatalities, including the death of two men in the Ural Mountains who posed for a photo while pulling the pin from a hand grenade.

And, in June, a university graduate died after trying to take a selfie while hanging from a Moscow bridge.

Most recently a 17-year-old boy fell to his death from a rooftop as he tried to take his picture for his Instagram page.

But are they doing this?

According to research published by the Ohio State University, the pictures that people post on social media can tell an interesting story about their personality.

Lead researcher Jesse Fox said that, for many, a dangerous selfie is worth it for the number of likes and comments it will generate.

“Likes are a quantifiable way of measuring popularity and these days it isn’t enough to just post a picture of yourself, because everyone is doing that. The more extreme it is, the more likely you are to stand out and get lots of likes and comments.”

It is the bravado of carrying out those death-defying stunts portrayed in certain selfies that especially gather a lot of likes.

“People see pictures like mine and see how they spread across the world and see a way to make themselves famous for 15 minutes,” says Lee Thompson, whose on top of the Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janiero went viral last year.

Lee Thompson said that this selfie was taken safely and with permission.
Lee Thompson said that this selfie was taken safely and with permission.

A professional photographer, Mr Thompson admits that the picture he took was done as a publicity stunt for his travel company, Flash Pack. He did, however, get permission to climb the statue.

“I’m not a serial selfie-taker – this shot was to publicise my business. It was the shot I knew I had to get because people love selfies,” he said.

Such promotional methods had not gone unnoticed by manufacturers such as Asus, which recently launched a phone dubbed the ZenFone Selfie, that as the name suggests, comes with a powerful camera.

But it too is sensitive to the issue of risk-taking selfies and its marketing of the device in France came with a poster campaign that points out places where taking a selfie would be ill-advised – including in front of trains, in cars and with bears.

So ladies, gentlemen. The ultimate selfie may be one self-shot away, but it would be entirely up to yourself whether it is wise to risk your own well-being for it.

You have to admit though, you will never be as cool as this 1966 selfie by Buzz Aldrin.

“@NASA I believe I get to claim the first EVA selfie from space during my Gemini 12 spacewalk orbiting Earth 17,000 mph. Best. Selfie. Ever.” –Buzz Aldrin Official

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