September 5, 2019

Is It Still A Selfie If A Robot Shot It?

We’ve all done it. We’ve all taken a series of “self-portraits” expressing everything from sassy to chic or, if we’re feeling real good, we’ve taken the completely staged I’m-enjoying-my-life-to-the-fullest-while-you’re-on-your-phone three-quarter shot as we look past the camera forgoing the smile. We’ve all selfied.

So, if that’s what we’ve done, what new ways will we tell our friends, family and the rest of the internet that we are doing fine, great even!? Well, surfers are making use of hundreds of cameras along the coast to prove their point.

Surfline, the ubiquitous surf forecasting service with live streaming cameras on beaches all over the world, recently released a smartwatch feature called Sessions. It allows surfers to retrieve clips of their rides from nearby cameras all with a tap of the wrist. When the surfer gets out of the water and opens the Surfline app on their phone, the clips are already loaded and waiting… begging… to be shared.

The idea of watching intermediate surfers on mediocre waves is not that interesting, even to other surfers. However, what if the cameras were strategically placed underwater to get the perfect photo of you snorkeling in the Galapagos, or atop an adjacent mountain face tracking your hike along the Pacific Crest Trail? Would you be interested then?

To end with speculation, and skipping the Big Brother conversation (this is a blog post, not a dissertation)… Are we trading memories for MOVs? If so, what other technology will be co-opted to create our daily highlight reel? I can’t imagine my feed filled with clips of my friends sitting in traffic on the way to work, but I’m sure someone will find a way to leverage similar pragmatic technology to evolve the selfie yet again.

-Tanner Teale
Creative Director