2014 has been unofficially dubbed the YEAR OF THE SELFIE. Of course, most of the news outlets that have made this pronouncement are referring to the celebrity-selfie, such as the famous Ellen DeGeneres Oscar photo that went hugely viral last year. But there is lots of other evidence to confirm that 2014 was the year that the selfie moved beyond being a trend to becoming a phenomena that is here to stay.
By one estimate, a million selfies are taken every day, and in 2014 the word SELFIE became an officially recognized Scrabble word. Unfortunately, 2014 also saw a disturbing increase in the number of deaths that occurred while people were posing for selfies at dangerous locations. So, yes, it’s safe to say that 2014 was a selfie kind of year all around.
The funeral industry has not dodged this trend. Funeral selfies are now a common, yet somewhat controversial, practice. We talked about the funeral selfie phenomena back in August in our post “Should you snap that funeral selfie?”. Since then we’ve seen the subject covered in a number of other news articles including one featuring the popular mortician, Caitlin Dougherty, of “Ask the Mortician” fame.
Read “YouTube’s Most Famous Mortician on Death, Funeral Selfies, and Home Funerals.”
Because of its popularity, scientists have begun to investigate exactly what is behind the desire to snap that funeral selfie. In a recent article published in Science 2.0, researchers from the University of Melbourne discussed their recent work.
Our research into digital commemoration has revealed funeral selfies are mostly taken in domestic locations prior to rather than during a service, challenging assumptions and media-panics around teenagers being disrespectful during funeral services.
Read the full story: Funerals and Selfies: Welcome to a Grave New World.
If their study is accurate, maybe things aren’t as bleak and traditionalists have decried. There will likely be more exploration into the phenomena so we’ll just have to wait and see. Regardless of what science ends up telling, us, it will be interesting to see how the selfie becomes integrated into memorialization of our loved ones in the future. We’ll continue to follow the topic and report back what we find.