#Sensation-causing Selfies

This modern behaviour is the bane of the human existence for many and they believe it represents the imminent downfall of societal standards. Unfortunately, this view is held by many organisations which are at risk of losing relevance with younger generations and, I’m afraid to tell them, but the answer to their relevance issues lies in the single click of a smartphone.

Pope Francis meets with Asian youth in South Korea

The art of taking a selfie is not graceful. It involves standing in front of a distinctive landmark while holding your phone as far away from your head as possible without compromising the ability to click the capture button. But surprisingly, this ungraceful activity could hold the saving grace for many traditional organisations including the Catholic Church and the British Monarchy.

I am, by no means, saying that these organisations don’t have their followers. They have hundreds of thousands of dedicated, loyal people who keep track of their every move and will move mountains to see these regal celebrities in person. However, they are increasingly losing their appeal with younger generations who don’t value the tradition that has kept them at the centre of many cultures for a long time.

But in the wake of these declining engagers, the figureheads of the orders are bucking their traditional trends. Whether intentionally or unintentionally, the Queen and the Pope have received great coverage in the last year with regards to selfies.

The Queen accidentally appeared in a selfie between two Australian athletes and managed to look at the camera and smile. Consequently this picture went viral on Twitter, formed the centre of the day’s Commonwealth Games coverage and sparked discussion everywhere about the relevance of the Queen across this social media platform. And she wasn’t even personally engaging!

The current Pope, Pope Francis, is well-known for his forward thinking and modern views. Using a tablet computer to complete his work, shunning the regal nature of the position and holding views that would put many other older generations to shame, he has become a much more relatable figure to younger generations looking for change. This modern perspective has even been translated across the social media dimension into the standard selfie. Not a stranger to the odd bit of fan worship, the Pope has been agreeing to selfies with fans for over a year. At first they started out rather awkward as he forgot to smile, but overtime he has gained new skills to perfect the art and provide some great publicity for his organisation within a younger audience.

In the last couple of days, while appearing in South Korea, the Pope graciously agreed to take a selfie with a young fan. Even though this wasn’t the first time he had engaged with this social medium, the media continued to have a field day with this new photo creating news content that flooded the internet and television screens.

These regal celebrities are managing to break down the accessibility barriers by engaging with younger audiences on their own levels. The appearances are causing massive discussion as well as making these figureheads more appealing and relatable in a world where a lack of social media interaction is a strong negative for younger generations.

Why is it such a powerful force? It could be the novelty of the appearances. It could be that this behaviour is well above our expectations of this person. It could also be the appealing factor of watching these elderly members of society engage with technology well beyond their youth . . . and succeed! My guess, it is a combination of all three!