As an editor, I see a lot of beautiful photographs, but when it comes to truly telling the story of human interaction or, more specifically, fan engagement, even the most breathtaking professional images can’t touch the selfie.
Fans have been taking selfies with their favorite athletes, media celebrities and even politicians for years, and it’s a very cool thing to see a famous person actively participate in posing for a fan’s picture. Flashing a genuine smile or throwing up a peace sign seem like silly little things that shouldn’t matter, but they do.
Especially to the millennial-and-younger crowd. Selfies are intimate, honest and yes, a little bit stupid, and they’re one of the easiest ways athletes and other celebrities can connect with their fans.
And lately, I’ve witnessed some athletes taking the selfie a step further by actually holding the fan’s phone and snapping the picture themselves. I call this the “Selfie Assist.”
And nobody does the Selfie Assist better than Pittsburgh Steelers receiver Antonio Brown.
Selfie Assists result from players being too far away or a fan simply needing the player’s significantly longer reach to get the perfect angle, and they create a unique moment of camaraderie that most fans would kill for. Seriously, how many strangers would you trust with your phone?
Now what about the stranger in this picture?
Unless you really hate smiles, it’s hard to look at these images without wearing one of your own and thinking something along the lines of…
“Man, that Antonio Brown sure seems like a nice guy.”
The Selfie Assist: A brilliant, genuine way for an athlete to build his personal brand.