Question: If a tree falls in a forest and nobody is around to Instagram it, did it really happen?

In a world where weddings have hashtags and you spend your evenings browsing pictures of what strangers are eating for dinner, photography as we know it has changed. And it's not for the better.

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Here are some facts: every two minutes we take more photos than those taken in the entire 1800s. Ten percent of photos taken EVER were in the last twelve months. If you take a selfie before working out you burn 50% more calories (OK, I made that last one up, but most of my Instagram seem to think it's true).

The Oxford Dictionaries Word of the Year 2013 was selfie, beating my favourite pastime, the humble twerk. In case you've been living in a cave with the rest of Take That's millions, I'll summarise: it's a picture you've taken of yourself, normally on a smartphone (the kind of people that take them on tablets normally also think Crocs are pretty cool).

The term has floated around since 2002, but only the perfect storm of Instagram, HQ front-facing cameras on phones and photo-editing apps really projected them to saturation point. In an attempt to seem culturally relevant, the Daily Mail has frantically started firing off the term, with mixed precision. We all do it, even my mum - she's particularly fond of a beach selfie in her new jet-setting expat life. She's like a wee freckly Glaswegian Beyonce.

The new 'cool' way for marketing departments to be down with the kids is a social media 'selfie competition', whereby patrons of the respective organisation are asked to upload a selfie at the venue, or wearing the product and include a designated hashtag.

Never has this been less thought out than when I recently visited the Mecca Bingo in Rutherglen (sorry, not sorry). With our bingo cards we were given a slip of paper, encouraging us to tweet selfies to @MeccaGlasRuth and mention #MeccaFirecracker and #Bingo for the chance to win (drumroll please) a £10 gift voucher. I use my Twitter professionally so I'd probably pay £10 for people not to know I was at the local bingo hall on a Saturday night drinking £7.49 bottles of wine (even if it was really, really good fun). I hung back so I could watch the exasperated reception staff explain to this new incentive to bewildered pensioners. It was at this point I knew selfies had gone far too far.

All the pictures from my early years of going out are group shots sitting on a bed with bottles of Metz (procured with my cousin's ID), all grinning faces in our best Miss Sixty jeans and gypsy tops. The excitement would build from when you first dropped the spool off at Boots and treated yourself to a groovy frame from Au Naturale while you patiently waited the hour to pass before collecting the developed pictures. From a quick Insta-scan on a Saturday night in 2014, it seems like everyone dutifully waits their turn for a solitary doorframe shot - all spine-contorting poses that maximise a white girl booty, and a face devoid of all sense of joy and hopefulness, replaced with a smoldering Katie Price circa forever gaze.

And it doesn't stop once the night begins. Everyone's incessant desire to document everything means that dancefloors far and wide are full of bright, white video flashes (recording grainy videos that make The Blair Witch Project look like Avatar), while DJs mix in constant fear that the mug leaning backwards into their booth to take a selfie will come crashing down on their Macbook at any point.

Would I want to have my formative teen years now? Not for all the junk in Kim K's trunk. I didn't have a Myspace until I was at university. Now there's five year-olds with half a million Instagram followers. Even worse are the devastatingly sad cases of teens who enter a spiral of depression and Body Dysmorphic Disorder, and many have confessed their fixation on Instagram and selfies as part of the problem.

Hell, I even retweeted a story recently about the rise of hand jobs. No, not those ones - as in getting fillers in your hands to make them look better in your engagement ring selfies. I hoped it was a cosmetic clinic's clever PR attempt to tap into pop culture for coverage, but I'm not holding my breath (and if I do, I'll probably take a quick selfie #redface #breathingissobasic). If you're ever feeling a bit emotional on a Sunday, don't Google 'selfie' and 'plastic surgery' - it will only make you weep at the state of humanity.

But you don't have to resort to cosmetic surgery. For the bargain price of 69p you can download apps like 'Perfect365', which is basically Photoshop for people who don't want technical skills that can translate into a professional capacity, but just want to look totally smokin' hot in the eyes of their followers.

Pictured above is a collage of the levels of editing that are available, from 'you on a really good day' to your Drag Race alter-ego. Top left is my 'I woke up like this' mode. Top right, I've airbrushed my skin and taken away my under eye bags. In the bottom right shot I've done all that, and slimmed down my face, lightened my skin, given myself very fetching violet Elizabeth Taylor eyes and put a little make-up on. Last, but certainly not least, I've transformed into someone from a Russian mail order bride website. Ta-dah! All within five minutes.

Once you become familiar with these apps you can spot it a mile away. Props to those who only edit themselves in the group shot because then you're even easier to identify as a raging narcissist. There's now also body-editing apps, but beware - nothing betrays you quite like a wavy doorframe. One of the worst offenders? You'd be surprised to find out it is frequently fought-over Miranda Kerr, and she's the worst because the first time she was caught she claimed it was an innocent mistake - she screengrabbed it from the internet and didn't know. Aye right Randy Mandy.

We spend all day staring at screens or pages where celebrities stare back at us, Photoshopped to within an inch of their lives ('Madonna Dolce and Gabbana before and after' is a great starting point if you're interested in examples). Is that not enough to compete with? Why is that girl you worked with one summer, or your cousin's girlfriend suddenly so keen to give you the whole Derek Zoolander 'hey, aren't I really, really, really ridiculously good looking' performance?

The Pope selfie. The Obama/David Cameron/Helle Thorning Schmidt selfie at Nelson Mandela's memorial (mad love to Michelle Obama for shutting that shit down). Joey Essex and Ed Milliband selfies. Teens trying to get the Queen in the back of their selfies. WILL IT EVER END? Can selfies ever die? Now that funeral selfies are a thing it seems that even when you pass away, there will still be some insensitive distant cousin giving you that one last blast of X-Pro II. Perhaps we should start taping iPhones to the inside of coffins? #dyingforacheekyweeNandos #nomorehairdon'tcare