Some young people might hesitate to lean their heads together for selfies after headlines trumpeted a possible link between selfies and head lice this week. But in Sweden, young people are snapping group selfies with abandon -- and apparently little concern for itchiness -- to make a political statement.
It's part of a campaign by the Social Democratic Youth League (SSU) aimed at promoting a sense of community and shared responsibility. The SSU is touting a far lesser-known buzzword for its effort: wefie (notice the presence of the "we" there).
"Sefies are so 2013," a page for the campaign reads. "This year, there are far more important subjects. Friendship. Community. Solidarity. If you want to see more 'we' and less 'me' in society -- take a wefie (it's like a selfie but together with friends). Because if you find another angle, there's room for more."
The goal is to get as many people as possible who support SSU's goals of snapping wefies, tagging them #wefie2014, and uploading them to Instagram. So far, more than 750 wefies have been shot and tagged. "Help us turn wefie into Word of The Year 2014 -- no matter your political vote," the youth league says, referring to "selfie" being named 2013 word of the year by the Oxford English Dictionaries.
The Social Democratic Youth League is a branch of the country's oldest political party, the Swedish Social Democratic Party, which has recently enjoyed a resurgence.
The wefie campaign is the brainchild of Swedish creative agency Deportivo, the folks behind Unsnooze, an iPhone app that aims to rouse snooze-button addicts in winter-shrouded Nordic countries with a bit of early morning competition.
"During the past 10 years, we have seen a shift from 'we' to 'me' -- an increasing egoism with clear effects," the SSU says. "Youth unemployment is increasing and the path to interesting job opportunities is nowadays further away as students' grades weaken. For those who reach their dream jobs and educational programs, new challenges await -- like the obvious thing, such as getting a place to live. In these times, housing shortages turns the hunt into a battle."
Meanwhile, the selfie-and-lice scare, which started with claims by one woman who owns an anti-lousing business in Southern California, has crawled all the way to Scandinavia and into the SSU's consciousness.
"The only negative side effect in showing solidarity seems to be a risk of getting head lice," the group posted on Instagram alongside an image of a lice-busting solution. "E-mail us if you need anti-lice lotion."
The big question, of course, is whether wefies will take hold in the US. Because a John Boehner/Nancy Pelosi wefie? That'd be worth a million creepy-crawlies.