Self­ies rekin­dle love af­fair with cars

South Waikato News - - Motoring - ALISON BOWEN

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.

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