The180·THE 180

What's the point of election selfies?

"I voted!" selfies are the latest social media trend in B.C. - but 180 producer Manusha Janakiram wonders what's the point? Why we can't just get out and vote to fulfil our civic duty?
Election selfies like this one are all the rage during the B.C. election. (@DaiquiriPanda/Twitter)

All over the social media feeds of British Columbians, election selfies are popping up. 

The "I voted" background is provided by Elections BC as part of its #ivotebc campaign — an effort by the regulator to create more awareness and increase accessibility to all voters. 

Manusha's election selfie. (provided )

Even 180 producer Manusha Janakiram took her own selfie after she voted in advanced polls. 

But as the likes began to tumble in, she wondered about using the motivation of selfies as a way to participate in the democratic process.

After all, they do seem to cater a bit more to our narcissistic side than our dutiful citizen sides.  

But Stuart Poyntz disagrees with Janakiram. 

Poyntz, a professor of communication at Simon Fraser University, says he's fascinated by the campaign not only because its being used by the province's election agency as an advertisement for participating in the democratic process, but also because it's a formal recognition of of how common selfies are to our everyday lives.

To write this all off as a question of narcissism, seems to me to miss the larger story at work here: which is that images and photography are part of the larger fabric of how we do things in the world - including voting. In this case, because the images people are taking...are often quite joyful, I think there is something to be celebrated about this because it puts a very different halo around the act of voting, than the notion of duty connotes.- Stuart Poyntz

To Poyntz, the election selfies seem more in the vein of celebration and joy rather than the more serious task of civic duty — a duty that is often avoided — and if that reinvigorates voter turnout, then Poyntz sees that only as a benefit. 

The 180 wants to hear from you on this - do you think election selfies help the democratic process? Leave your comments below. 


To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.