As if sociologists, psychologists and analysts were not perplexed enough about the rising storm of selfies which are uploaded on social media every day, that a ‘three nation selfie’ made its way to the top news. On memorial services of Nelson Mandela, President Barack Obama and PM David Cameron posed for a selfie with Dutch PM Helle Thorning Schmidt. And a never-ending debate rose its head with many censuring Barack Obama for his “insensitive” and “non-serious” attitude.

Selfies in particular and social media in general have been centre of debate for quite a while. Judging from these media, sociologist and psychologists are wondering what is the modern man up to? They are popping many questions. How did selfie become a symbol of pop-culture? Isn’t selfie culture and the whole social media an evidence of narcissism? Is modern man more self-obsessed than his predecessors, otherwise what might be the reason that he keeps posting about himself? Is social media all about attention seeking? Do social media junkies act differently on social media pretending to be the people which they actually are not in their real lives? Is such a culture evolving on social media which was mocked by Shaw and Wilde long ago? Would not the writers of Theatre of Absurd find plenty to mock about social media sites where people upload very personal photos and statues. Still another trend is seeking reciprocal response. You praise someone’s photo and they compliment yours. You ignore someone’s status and they are offended enough to throw you out of their social media friends circle. They may unfollow or even unfriend you, or if they are civil enough, they would just ignore you. Another worth noticing aspect is that the people get a lot to talk about in real life from the stuff they see on social media. I mean who doesn’t talk about, ‘have you seen his status update?’ ‘she uploads too many photos?’ etc.

Well all these questions might need debate spread over pages and pages of books and journals. Human behavior would be analyzed based on tweets, posts and photos. Thinking men would judge this modern behavior, and research and write about it. Ironically, their findings would be duly published on internet and  accordingly shared on social media too. Human behavior would be analyzed based on tweets, posts and photos. One cannot know where the social media itself is going but one dimension of social studies of can be clearly mapped out. Online human behavior is going to be a subject of social and psychological studies for times to come.

Though human response to social media is striking, but there is nothing abnormal about it. For the first thing man is a social animal. This is a proven fact that he wants to communicate and socialize. Moreover his social instincts are less about listening than about speaking. Man’s urge to express is the major reason for his socializing. No wonder social media has become a way to say, “I share therefore I am.”

As for narcissism, human self-obsession too is not something new. The self portraits of as legendary painters as  Van Gogh and last sculpture of as classic sculptor as Michelangelo bear testimony to human narcissism. The urge to express oneself can be seen in Urdu poetry as well. To gain recognition and applause the poets embed their name in the verses. However in previous times, only Michelangelo and people like him had leisure and resources to create the images of self. Their work gave them margin to be self-obsessed. This is not so in the case of college girls, corporate executives, housewives and university graduates. Their selfies do not have value unlike the paintings of Gauguin.

Pop culture in fact, employs giving tool in hands of mango people to let them celebrate their commonness. This may be the very reason that selfie has become popular. It celebrates the man on the street. In fact it celebrates man everywhere be it bazaar, dressing room, class room, office or food place. Humans are just as narcissistic as they were before. Now they have channels to vent out their self-love. Same is the case with posts and status updates etc. Technology has brought out a writer and photographer in everyone. No wonder selfies have gone pop.

Those who are worried that self-obsession and narcissism are abnormal, must bear in mind that expression cannot be right and wrong. Moral relativism is particularly true in the case of expression.

The point that social media promotes pretense is itself a shallow one. It is well quoted wisdom that we have two selves one which we present to the world and one which we keep ourselves. Nevertheless there are few trends that are dangerously vile and pretentious but there is nothing which we can blame on a social media itself which has helped bringing out greatest revolutions of our times including Arab Spring and Occupy Wall Street.

The zealously preaching media, bragging about Obama’s insensitivity, itself became obsessed with three celebs’ selfie and forgot about Mandela. Many forgot that the Memorial services were less about mourning and more about celebrating the cult of Madiba.

From a diplomatic point of view, Obama selfie was a sure success. Just few days ago, Merkel and whole Europe was against Obama over surveillance issue. The selfie sends the message that European leaders still have good terms with Obama administration. Obama has contributed positively to the selfie culture. Selfie had gone pop quite a while ago, after diplomatic success of selfie, it has gone macho.