Nathan Ryan Reeves

The Selfie as Travel Writing-Thesis/Theme

The selfie is an unconventional way to travel writing, and I’d say that compared to traditional writing they develop the same feeling to the viewer, but with different avenues. Travel writing displays the destination through words and descriptive phrases. With selfies in travel writing, the main focal point is not the person but rather the vacation or destination around them. Selfies have their pros and cons to traditional writing, but both aim to accomplish the same thing, displaying travel through a medium that can invoke inspiration.

For instance, in the reading “Visualizing lives: “the selfie” as travel writing, Kylie Cardell and Kate Douglas discuss the differences between travel writing and selfies as travel writing. There are some problems with the use of this form of travel expression, but overall, the paper revolves around the context of travel posts on Instagram.

One important point that I think could be at the forefront of their arguments was the context of taking selfies, and whether travel writing in the form of selfies is appropriate. There is this famous case of a girl named Breanna Mitchell, who took a selfie when she was at Auschwitz and posted it on Twitter and other social media. The internet exploded since this kind of selfie was disrespectful, and self-centered. Using this example, there seem to be unspoken rules around the form of travel selfies in accordance to not disrespect where you are. The centralism involved with selfies makes the person seem self-centered in a place that is not meant for that. In that, the authors imply that there is an appropriate way to post about these sensitive topics. In my opinion, I feel that the selfie has been around for so long that it should be expected that people would know the appropriate times and not at a place where there were human atrocities, but rather taking selfies at a place where you can appropriately express the place you are visiting. If the place is touchy and means something to you directly, the authors have stated that there are other ways to document it, that are not selfies.

All in all, the selfie is a good tool at the appropriate time to display appreciation for the location you are visiting, however, there are these unspoken rules that people should be aware of for the sake of respect. The form of memorialization is a clear-cut thing to sway from when possible. However, this contemporary documentation can create interesting travel narratives, when done correctly.

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