I bought a selfie ring light over the weekend. It’s an inexpensive thing that clips on your phone and provides better lighting for pictures. The $14.99 it set me back isn’t a hefty price, but I’m questioning the life choices that brought me to this moment.
I never understood selfies. Taking pictures of yourself with your friends, I get. But those aren’t selfies. Not really, at least. Groupies, maybe, but not selfies. Selfies are pictures of just you. Yeah, my old Millennial is showing. What of it?
When selfies first arrived online, they were almost exclusively in front of bathroom mirrors. Sure, the lighting might have been better, but that grainy cell phone picture in a dirty bathroom did not provide good looks. Yet, somehow, the selfie endured.
In the world of endless online videos, quality lighting moved from a need to a must. Truth be told, I have a fancy light right for recording video calls, but it requires a tripod and power. The ring light I bought this weekend is a portable clip-on thing that goes where I go — assuming I ever leave the house again.
I bought the ring light because, well, I’m not 100% sure why I purchased the light. I don’t take a lot of pictures of myself, so the selfie usage is out. Pictures of food? Yes. My dog? Of course. Both those uses will benefit from upgraded portable lighting. But the light is intended for selfies and that just feels icky.
Last week I watched Fake Famous, a documentary about taking anybody and making them famous on Instagram. The process involved elaborately staged photos, tagging business they weren’t actually visiting, and buying a LOT of followers. You know, totally normal things people should invest their time and money in.
After watching the film, I’m convinced most of what exists on Instagram is fake. Okay, maybe inauthentic is a more accurate term. Sure, we’ve all known for years the internet is filled with half-truths and bots, but this takes everything to new levels. When the social currency of followers turns into cold, hard cash, then everything changes. Plus, like everything, things start to feel a little icky when you peek behind the curtain.
So, no, I’m not going to start taking a ton of selfies with my new ring light. I do have a mind to start playing with video, but what that means remains to be seen. But, chances are whatever I use my new light for, it won’t lead to me becoming “famous.”
Or will it?
Some company I’ve never heard of reached out today because they “like my Instagram aesthetic.” Maybe by “aesthetic” they mean “sporadic pictures of my dog.” Of the 32 pictures I’ve posted since January 2020, six include me, whereas 13 include my dog. So, yeah, not sure what my aesthetic really is.
Anyway, this brand wants to send me one of their products in exchange for posting about it on my feed. They called me an “influencer,” which, again, okay. It’s all bizarre.
Here’s the thing, though. I can only attribute this newfound “fame” to one thing: buying a selfie ring light. Somewhere, the robots saw my Amazon purchase and notified brands, and here we are. That’s clearly the only logical explanation of all of this.
Will I become a shill for some company I’ve never heard of thank to my new ring light? Who knows. I mean, I’m not one to pass up a good deal, and free is usually a pretty good deal. Then again, what if posting a picture of myself tarnishes my clearly influencer-level Instagram aesthetic? Then the whole endeavor is for naught. It’s a true Sofie’s Choice in my household today.
What do you think I should do? More importantly, what would you do?