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商业 - 科技

“自拍”何以变成社会流行病

Jessi Hempel 2014年08月28日

人人都在玩自拍,就连奥巴马总统和教皇方济各也未能免俗。过去两年以来,随着智能手机,尤其是带有前置摄像头的iPhone 手机越来越普及,自拍开始疯狂地流行起来,从一种潮流变成一种现象。就像书写语言一样,自拍已经成为现代人进行交流的工具。

“传染”系列文章:

【传染之一】比SARS更致命:蝙蝠病毒MERS是如何成为人类杀手的

【传染之二】“自拍”何以变成社会流行病

【传染之三】市场抛盘是怎样发生的?

【传染之四】并购传闻如何不胫而走

【传染之五】从贾斯汀•比伯到数据学家,Twitter何以成为一门显学

    奥巴马总统、脱口秀主持人艾伦•狄珍妮和教皇方济各有什么共同点?答案是,他们去年都玩起了自拍。其同道中人还包括演员麦莉•赛勒斯(她在Twitter上发了121张自拍照)、坠机事件幸存者费迪南德•普恩特斯、宇航员史蒂夫•斯沃森。另外我敢肯定,你八成也是个自拍迷。

    自拍本身并不是新鲜事物,它与摄影技术同时诞生。早在1839年,由化学家半路转行成摄影家的罗伯特•科尼利厄斯就拍摄了一张自拍照。不过在过去两年里,自拍开始疯狂地流行起来,从一种潮流变成一种现象,到现在,就连你的邻居大妈也会在打毛衣时“咔嚓”一张。《牛津英语辞典》将“自拍”(selfie)评为“2013年度单词”。据皮尤研究中心(Pew Research Center)的一项民调,一半以上的“千禧一代”(即18至33岁的人)曾经自拍并且把照片分享到网络上。ABC电视台今年9月末将上映一部新的情景喜剧,名字就叫《自拍》。(这是真的。)独立乐队The Chainsmokers制作了一部叫做《自拍》的MV,在网络上极其火爆(看上去非常可怕)。那么,在这个智能手机大行其道的社会,为什么人们如此热衷于自拍呢?

    What do President Obama, Ellen Degeneres and Pope Francis have in common? They’ve all snapped selfies in the last year. So has Miley Cyrus (she’s posted 121 of them on Twitter). Plane-crash survivor Ferdinand Puentes. And astronaut Steve Swanson. And so, I’m nearly positive, have you.

    The selfie, of course, isn’t new—it has been around since the advent of photography, when chemist-turned-photographer Robert Cornelius captured one in 1839. But in the past two years, it has become explosively popular—the sort of meme that scales, seemingly overnight, from mere trend to phenomenon to something your Aunt Edna talks about in her crocheting circle. The Oxford English Dictionary called out “selfie” as the 2013 word of the year. More than half of all millennials (age 18-33) have taken a selfie and shared it online, according to a March 2014 Pew Research Center poll. ABC is debuting a new primetime sitcom called Selfie in late September. (Seriously.) Indie band The Chainsmokers produced a music video called #Selfie that became a viral hit (and was awful!). How the heck did these hastily snapped-and-shared self-portraits become le dernier cri of smartphone society?

    文化的传染——“自拍”如何从自恋小青年的自娱自乐,发展为一种新的视觉语言。

    在《财富》(Fortune)研究传染的系列文章中,我和我的同事决定探索事物传播的秘密——从吓人的中东呼吸综合症(MERS-coV)到企业并购谣言,从市场恐慌到畅销书现象,再到研究Twitter如何成为美国大学校园的一门显学。在探究“传染”这个奇妙的过程中,我们非常想知道,我们能否从一种社会流行现象的历史中学到什么?答案也许是肯定的。

    Cultural Contagion—How the ‘selfie’ went from narcissistic kids’ play to a new visual language overnight. Data Source—Google Trends / Cyrus Photo: Jeff Kravitz—Getty Images

    In a new Fortune series on Contagion, my colleagues and I have set out to explore how things spread—from the frightening MERS-coV virus (here and here) to M&A rumors, from market panics to book sales to how studying Twitter itself became a go-to discipline on American campuses. In probing this strange viral process, we wondered, was there something to be learned from studying the history of a social epidemic? Well, maybe so.

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