The carfie phenomenon: How in-car selfies drive social media


Selfies have taken over the world. Just browse Facebook, Instagram or Snapchat and you’ll encounter dozens of your friends’ filtered faces. In other words, they’re #everywhere. Believe it or not, 1,000 selfies are posted on Instagram every second!  The most avid selfie-takers fall between the ages of 18 to 35, with women being far more likely to mug for the camera. In fact, a whopping 57% of selfies posted on Instagram are the work of these self-portrait enthusiasts.

Selfie styles vary—from loose candids to carefully posed pics with puppy-face filters. But there’s one selfie that’s become the mother of all modern-day portraits: the appearance selfie. The appearance selfie is just what it sounds like—an image that shows off one’s looks. That fresh haircut, sharp interview outfit, or sleek new pair of shades takes center stage. According to researchers from the Georgia Institute of Technology, appearance photos account for more than 50% of all selfies. Other common categories include: social selfies (photos taken with others—14.3%), ethnicity (images demonstrating pride in one’s ethnic identity—12.7%), travel (7.1%), and health and fitness (5.2%).

Within the appearance genre, carfies are the most popular form of self-expression. A carfie is a selfie taken in the car, usually while in the driver’s seat. The carfie has become a social phenomenon. An Instagram search for #carfie and #carselfie turns up more than 2 million collective results, not including the many examples out there sans hashtags.

This makes sense when you consider that while you’re in the car, you’re often on your way to—or heading back from—somewhere where you need to look your best.  Plus, being surrounded by a sea of windows works wonders when you’re trying to take a “lit” selfie.

If you choose to join the carfie club, safety is key. Because whether you want to be the Bieber of Beemers or put the “car” in Kardashian, you have to protect yourself and other drivers. You also want to keep it fun and flattering. To help you capture the perfect pic, we’ve put together a list of dos and don’ts we hope you’ll find useful. selfie!


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Carfie Dos and Don’ts:

DON’T: Take a carfie while driving. We repeat: DON’T take a carfie while driving! Taking a car selfie is just as dangerous as texting and driving, which we all know is a no-go. So before you cheese for your close up, make sure your ride is firmly in park and off the roadway. The same thing goes for posting. First park, then post.

DO: Put on the red red lights. In some states, using your phone while driving is illegal—even at a red light. Other laws are iffier, but it’s better to be safe than selfie. Plus, you don’t want to hold up traffic when the light turns green and you’re still voguing for the camera. While your vehicle is in operation, your focus should be on the road at all times.

DO: Find the light. All that naturally filtered light in your car can be flattering, but you have to make sure it touches your face. Obstructions such as your car visor can block the sunshine, leaving you with strange shadows on your visage. It’s also best to avoid having the sun behind you. Shoot in the direction of the light, not away from it.

DON’T: Forget to edit. You can use the filters that come standard on apps like Snapchat or Instagram, or download a special photo editing app like VSCO. Grab extra attention by adding stickers or captions on Snapchat and Instagram Stories.

DO: To thine own selfie be true. From imperfect hair days, to carloads of rowdy kids, to muddy dogs in the backseat, it’s okay to showcase your real life! Personality beats perfection any day.

As smart phone cameras get smarter, the number of social platforms increases, and filters multiply like rabbits, we predict car selfies will become more and more popular. Smile and say carfie!

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