After reading Michael Koliska and Jessica Robert’s “Selfies: Witnessing and Participatory Journalism with a Point of View”, I googled “selfies as witness”. I found many links and articles, however one in particular caught my eye for personal reasons: “Ash Wednesday Selfies: Christian Witness on the Digital Streets” by Michael Bayer.
I should preface the following with the idea that, well, I am a practicing Catholic and Lent begins today, on March 1st. Like the Catholics in the article, I went to my (grossly patriarchal, white, old) church to celebrate mass (see this post’s selfie).
In the article, Bayer discusses the way young Christians take selfies after receiving a cross of ashes on their foreheads on Ash Wednesday. In doing so, he argues that there’s something good and holy about being a Christian “witness to the digital realm” (np). Witness in this case is not about selfies ‘seeing and saying’ like Koliska and Robert discuss. Rather, it is about a religious witness. I find this odd and silly, in that, the article suggests that Catholics who post selfies and use the Internet are using particular “gift[s]” from God (np). There’s no real conversation beyond that in the article.
However, there is something interesting about how youth in a large religious group questions the usefulness or hinderance of social media for their public appearance and religiosity. I wonder how religious communities use social media to their benefit? And for what reasons?