Selfies rekindle love affair with cars
When her 2000 Subaru Outback sold quickly online, Caroline Bean never got to say goodbye.
So she logged onto Facebook, where a post that began, ‘‘It’s been seven hours and 12 long years ... ‘‘ served as a virtual memorial.
Friends weighed in, sharing memories of the Subaru – fun trips to the beach, its impressive cup holders. And she wrote about everything she and the car had been through.
‘‘We brought our babe home from the hospital in this car,’’ she said.
Bean, 35, who works in social media marketing in Philadelphia, is not alone in virtual vehicle eulogising. Selling, or buying, a car is such a life event that many post an accompanying photo, be it a glamour shot of the car or a selfie.
Our autos hold a lot of our lives. They transport our children. They hold our belongings during a move. They whisk us to moments both happy and harrowing.
So perhaps it’s not that surprising that when we buy or sell them, we leave a piece of them online with a memory.
Amy Best, a sociologist, said cars mean a lot of things to a lot of people. Freedom. Success. Attachment.
‘‘In some ways their life unfolding plays out in and around the car,’’ she said.
‘‘We do form deep attachments to our car.’’
Plus, she said, purchasing a car is an achievement.
‘‘We associate cars with major life-course milestones,’’ Best said. ‘‘These are often the first major purchase people make.’’
And now, other milestones – job, children – aren’t such a given; not everyone buys a home, marries, has children.
The effort that goes into buying a car, from comparing models to hours at a dealership to finalise a purchase, is an investment that ‘‘makes it ripe for a more meaningful attachment,’’ Best said.
Car dealerships are starting to capitalise on the trend of posting the car equivalents of birth and death announcements. A Honda dealership asked shoppers to take a selfie with a Honda Civic for a chance to win a new one; on Instagram, #lovemysubaru has more than 3000 posts, with car owners bubbling, ‘‘I got a car!!!’’ Under the same hashtag, a local dealership in Australia posted a photo of a couple with a Subaru adorned with a bright red bow.
Posing with a car has always been a popular way of noting something that’s a status symbol and point of pride.
Historically, cars have connected to us emotionally, whether through a family hobby or a saved-up-for purchase. So many photos on a fridge might have included a child in the seat of a pickup, or a parent and child smiling together with a new-car backdrop.
But now, with the digital world, we’re able to transplant the refrigerator-door showcase online, where others can chime in with comments or appreciation. Plus, when you’ve spent a lot of time either driving in – or working on – a car, what better way to show off the final result than to a hum of likes and clicks?
Michael and Szetlana Grills take a selfie in front of their ‘67 Pontiac classic car during an event in Chicago.