Jogging away merrily on a health club treadmill, I noticed a woman on an exercise bike in front of me taking a selfie as she pedalled.
Still pedalling, she deftly used some app or other to distort the photo of her face into an unnatural grin, tap, tap, tap, send.
She then took a second, pouting a kiss. Cropped the photo so her nose and up didn’t show. Tap, tap, tap, send.
With all the talk of narcissism in politicians, you haven’t got to look far to see it everyday folk as well.
I can think of several senior managers I’ve had the misfortune to know over the years who bluffed their way up the career ladder by flattering those above them, and telling them what they wanted to hear.
And once they had a grip on a bit of power, they in turn only wanted to hear underlings agree with them and flatter them and execute their orders, no matter how bonkers those ideas were. Thin-skinned, over-inflated opinion of their own talents, and all the empathy of a half-brick.
But is the selfie thing narcissism, or something else?
What did the recipients of gym-selfie woman’s pictures think when they popped up in their messages (if that’s how she sent them)?
Pleasure? Gratitude? I presume amusement was the intention of the sender.
Or was it ‘whatever’ and a shrug?
She wasn’t doing anything interesting, or anywhere interesting, and she put less than a minute into creating and sending each, so what was she ‘saying’ by sending them?
“I thought of you and spent 30 seconds ensuring that you think of me, while doing something else at the same time.”
Perhaps I’m the only person who doesn’t get this constant self-promotion thing. After all, I was put firmly in my place as a child any time adults thought my natural exuberance was ‘showing off.’
And there are people in my life I’d like to hear more from, and I feel guilty about not making time to contact them more often, too.
But, I don’t think any of them would want in-you-face photos of my face dropping into their inbox or message feed in lieu of, you know, actually telling them something and showing an interest in their lives.

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