Me, my selfie and die

Dying to take a selfie? Think again. It may be more dangerous than you imagine. True fact? More people have been killed taking selfies in the past year than in shark attacks. Mashable have validated the numbers with 12 people being killed taking selfies compared to 8 deaths becoming a shark sandwich. So why is this seemingly safe social pastime so perilous?

With an estimated 93 million selfies being taken each day I suppose it isn’t a huge surprise that the number of associated incidents is rapidly on the rise. The number one reason why people shrug off their mortal coil whilst taking a selfie? Falling. One of the latest incidents was when a woman hiking in the Grand Canyon uploaded a selfie to Instagram with the caption “that view tho” right before she fell 400ft to her death…

Next up? Being hit by some form of moving vehicle. Peruvian Jared Frank became an overnight sensation on YouTube when he attempted to take a selfie in front of a moving train and ended up being kicked in the head by the conductor. Or even worse, what about taking a selfie whilst driving. According to research 1 in 5 young people do just that, including 29 year old Jordan Toner who was driving with friends in Maine when he leaned over to take a selfie and crashed his car into a tree. Two women sitting in the front passenger seat reportedly suffered the worst injuries and Toner has been charged with “failing to maintain control of a motor vehicle due to being distracted.”

And I guess this is exemplifies the point because people are taking ever increasing risks to capture the most extreme selfies. It appears that idiocy has no boundaries as there are literally thousands of snaps portraying people perched on top of the Worlds highest buildings, running away from the bulls in Pamplona or even attempting to catch a selfie with venomous snakes. Yep you read that right. In July last year, CNN reported the story of a certain Mr Todd Fassler from San Diego who was bitten several times whilst trying to take a selfie with a rattlesnake. The result? He lost part of his hand and was landed with a medical bill of over $150,000. There are no words…

Meanwhile, over in Russia, the government have realised that careless selfie taking is becoming a genuine risk to it’s citizens (honestly, you can’t make this stuff up). CNET reported that Russia’s Ministry of the Interior held a press conference a few months ago to launch a novel safety initiative prompted by over 100 serious injuries and 10 deaths in the last year. These include a guy who shot himself whilst posing with a pistol and another who took a picture whilst grabbing an exposed wire to see what would happen. Funnily enough he was electrocuted. In an effort to assist some of the more (er) ‘challenged’ members of society the Russian government have introduced a rather nifty chart outlining the types of selfie one should avoid…

Their handy tips include avoiding taking selfies in front of moving trains, on the back of speedboats, in front of tigers, with a loaded gun or whilst trying to fix your TV aerial. Clearly all sound advice yet they still managed to miss out trying to take a selfie with a rattlesnake…

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Steve Blakeman is Managing Director - Global Accounts for OMD based in London / Paris. He was named by LinkedIn as a Top 10 Writer for Marketing & Social for 2015 (Top Voices) and also 'Agency Publisher of the Year' for EMEA. Please follow me on LinkedIn and Twitter