Take a selfie, post it up/The next five years you’ll…be in prison?

We’ve written an eclectic range of stories about selfies lately.

There’s Siri’s willingness to open the pod bay door and let other people sneak a look at your iPhone photos without the passcode.

There’s Snapchat’s new “Do you want to buy a replay” feature, where you can send someone a disappearing selfie, but at a cost of 99 cents for three credits, they can take a second look.

(Only a second look. Two peeks is a compliment, but three would be creepy.)

From the Department of Quantifying Absurdly Improbable Events comes the news that you are more likely to die while taking a selfie than from being bitten by a shark.

→ Apparently, only 35 people have died from shark bites in continental US waters in the past 178 years. So almost any recorded cause of death is considerably more likely than a Jaws moment – drowning due to irrational fear of a shark attack, for example – but don’t let that ruin a dramatic statistic. And although snapping pics of yourself is also unlikely to kill you, don’t mix selfies with alcohol, driving or firearms, eh?

Actually, selfies seem to be more of a risk to your freedom than your health.

We’ve covered burglars who snapped themselves on stolen phones, only to have their mugshot uploaded automatically to the cloud.


And there’s this case, where a rather recognisable chap, recently released from prison after serving a five-stretch for bank robbery, allegedly went and robbed another bank.

John Mogan, 28, then uploaded his mugshot deliberately to the cloud, featuring himself posing with an impressively large wad:


Unfortunately, his girlfriend Ashley Duboe, 24, was busted, too, pictured here along with him in a two-handed swag shot:

It’s easy to laugh, sigh, or even cry, perhaps, at the haplessness of these alleged criminals who seem to have taken the US Constituition’s much vaunted Fifth Amendment, the right to avoid self-incrimination, and stood it on its head.

But stop a moment to ask yourself, “How much am I giving away about my life, my job, my house, my friends, my family, my children, my whereabouts, when I post my own selfies?”

The sudden popularity in 2012 of Snapchat, founded on the fallacious promise that you could send selfies that would self-destruct unrecoverably, suggests that many of us appreciate the risk of revealing too much about (or of) ourselves, even to close friends…

…yet we still don’t want to let privacy mess with our digital lifestyle too much.

And it’s not just selfies, of course.

It’s what you tweet, it’s the geolocation data you give away, it’s information like your birthday and your social security number that websites try to prise out of you, it’s surveys you fill in, it’s emails you reply to, and much more.

Remember, when it comes to anything that tells a story about you, and it isn’t absolutely necessary to what you are trying to do online, Stop. Think. And only then Connect.

Remember this simple rule: If in doubt, don’t give it out.



Image of stylised word “Selfie” courtesy of Shutterstock.