It may be down to the humidity but the world seems to be heading into selfie frenzy.

This month alone has seen long-running selfie stories featuring celebrity Kim Kardashian, political clown Jeremy Hunt (best # of 2015) and significant other Karen Danczuk.

The term selfie has been buzzing around for about 15 years, since the early 2000s, but it only really hit the big time in 2012 and it shows no signs of abating.

Earlier this month, Carphone Warehouse released their selfie research report and found that the British public is currently taking a staggering 5.25billion selfies a year.

That works out at 14.5million selfies a day.

Another intriguing element is the psychology of the selfie and its impact.

In a good way, the selfie has been attributed as a reason for the slight decline in binge drinking as fewer people want drunken night memories shared online and in a bad way for the rise in eating disorders.

A study by Psychology Today attributed the dark characteristic traits of narcissism and Machiavellianism amongst selfie takers.

I don’t buy that line as some of the most narcissistic people I know shy away from selfies.

I think it is fair to say selfies have gone way beyond a fad – they’re here to stay.

Selfies are now a cultural movement and a societal activity having overtaken and replaced some of the more mundane habits like autograph collecting.

But where do selfies live in the exhibition world?

In my mind organisers and exhibitors should hold the selfie much higher than the tactical or promotional position it currently holds.

Big statement huh…but bear with me…

Photographs and videos are the lifeblood of the multi-billion dollar social networks like Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, Snapchat and any other emerging platform that I am too old to know about.

They all rely photos and their ability to storytell (it is a word now) real life events to drive traffic and relevance of their respective channels.

Exhibitions are the original social network and need to lean on the technology to stay relevant in much the same way.

Organisers need to work with exhibitors to evoke and amplify the real life connections through selfies and photos.

There are so many innovations affecting photography that could be exploited by exhibitions – it could be drone technology or GoPros or facial mapping/recognition or wearable tech.

The options are limitless for organisers and exhibitors to tell stories, drive visitor numbers and increases share of voice and revenues within their respective sectors.

As an industry we push the event hashtag, big time, but it is the selfies and photos we should push as a priority.

Hashtags achieve a retweet engagement uplift of 16% (Twitter Media Blog, 2014) whilst photos uplift retweets by 35% – more than twice as much.

And that’s more than video – 28%.

The photo goes beyond story telling and social media sharing metrics.

It gives the exhibitors and visitors the opportunity to associate the exhibition with positive sentiment deeper than any written word.

It gives emotion, humanity, participation, engagement, live exchange and a more accurate picture of experience marketing.

For B2B exhibitions it can convey trade, prosperity, confidence, business and empowerment.

And what exhibition and/or exhibitor wouldn’t want to be associated with that?

The difficulty lies in making it spontaneous and that’s where organisers and exhibitors need to look past the tactical deployment.

Next blog…emojis and exhibitions…I jest…I think ☺

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Jim heads up Exhibitor Smarts, which is a newly created specialist agency working alongside organisers and suppliers to ensure that exhibitors engage, grow and return.
If you want more information about the Exhibitor Smarts please visit our website at www.exhibitorsmarts.com

For exhibiting tips and chats follow Exhibitor Smarts on twitter: @exhibitorsmarts

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