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You're so vain, you probably think this selfie is about you

POSTED May 16, 2014 7:43 p.m.

Warren Beatty has met his match — self-centered selfie snappers.

The actor immortalized in Carly Simon’s hit song “You’re So Vain” would have a hard time  being as self-absorbed as those who believe every occasion calls for them to take a selfie.

That’s why it comes as no surprise that universities across the land are warning graduates not to whip out their smartphones to snap a selfie as they are handed their diploma. Bryant University in Rhode Island instituted the no-selfie policy for their May 17 commencement exercises after more than a few graduates pulled out smartphones last year just as the college president was handing them their diploma.

Bryant University brass are not only worried about decorum but with 758 graduates and a ceremony that already runs three hours long they don’t want to drag out the presentations even longer.

Nothing says self-absorbed more than disrupting a major event while everyone is forced to watch you snap a picture of yourself.

Apologists for selfies argue it’s the way of the world so get use to it.

Does that mean the best man at a wedding should muscle his way in between the bride and groom as they get ready to take their first kiss as husband and wife so he can snap a selfie?

Or perhaps it is OK for one to take a selfie with the deceased as they lay in an open casket during a funeral.

There is a time and place for selfies. Generally if it is an occasion that isn’t only about you perhaps you might want to refrain from immortalizing yourself for the Internet.

Some universities are working with graduates to post selfies before and after ceremonies to various social media.

While that sounds cutting edge it begs the question: Whatever happened to thoroughly experiencing events instead of worrying about posting your life as it happens to the Internet?

Besides, narcissism isn’t exactly a charming trait.

It’s important that you like yourself but it is also important that you are part of something larger than yourself. Snapping selfies of yourself getting your diploma and then immediately uploading it to a social media site in the middle of a graduation ceremony doesn’t exactly say you’re a class act nor does it say that you act as if you are part of a class. It simply says you believe the world revolves around you and only you.

It doesn’t matter if you slow down the ceremony. It doesn’t matter if you disrupt the ceremonial flow and dignity of the occasion. It doesn’t matter that you can’t go for an hour or so without your nose buried in a smartphone at an event that celebrates not just your achievement but also the emotional and financial commitment of others that helped you obtain it.

No, it is more important that you be self-absorbed and rack up as many likes as possible on Facebook before the last chord of Pomp and Circumstances fades.

It’s not your fault that you give zero thought to others, decorum or those with different views on behavior.

After all, most colleges today have gone out of their way to have only speakers on campus that won’t bruise your ego or commencement speakers that are politically correct so therefore they don’t make you come out of your comfort zone.

So why shouldn’t they let you take a selfie with the college president as they hand you your diploma? Your world is the only world that counts. And that world puts your social media friends higher than people jamming a stadium to attend graduation ceremonies.

Intently interacting with people surrounding you isn’t old-fashioned. It’s called the real world.

The problem is many people have become so absorbed in perfecting their online image they sometimes pay little heed to the here and now.

There will come a time if the selfie urge isn’t put in check where people will click selfies with potential employers during job interviews or take selfies as they pop the question for someone’s hand in marriage.

We can count our blessings that smartphones and selfies weren’t around in the time of Lord Byron, Emily Barrett, Ansel Adams, or Robert Frost. If they were, our world would be a little less rich today.

Experiencing life is a heck of a lot different than chronicling life.

This column is the opinion of Dennis Wyatt and does not necessarily represent the opinion of The Journal or Morris Newspaper Corp. of CA.  He can be contacted at dwyatt@mantecabulletin.com or 209.249.3519.

 

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