'Selfie king' James Franco calls out TODAY for calling out his selfies

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By Randee Dawn

During his time on social media, James Franco has learned a thing or two — namely, posting selfies gets attention. Posting photos of other things ... not so much. And in a new column for The New York Times, Franco shares the wisdom of the selfie, and gave a tip of the hat to TODAY in the process.

"Selfies are something new to me, but as I have become increasingly addicted to Instagram, I have been accused of posting too many of them," he wrote in the article, which appeared online Dec. 26. "I was called out on the TODAY show, and have even been called the selfie king."

When Franco appeared on TODAY in October, Savannah Guthrie had asked him about posting so many selfies.

"I don't want to post those things," he told her then. "I just look at the number of 'likes.' Like, if I put out a book or something that I like, I get this number and if I just put a stupid selfie it's like ten times (that)."

It comes down to garnering attention, Franco wrote in his NYT article, attention that helps him promote the projects he really loves. "(A) well-stocked collection of selfies seems to get attention. ... Attention is power. And if you are someone people are interested in, then the selfie provides something very powerful, from the most privileged perspective possible."

A celebrity selfie, he wrote, gives the kind of desired window fans want into a star's life. So Franco tries to keep the selfies to non-selfies at a one-to-one ratio, in the hopes that a fan who clicks through to a selfie might also check out his other pictures, which feature his books, paintings and poems.

For what it's worth, Guthrie insisted on TODAY Friday that she was not "calling out" Franco for excessive selfie use. "I was just observing that he posted a lot of selfies, which I thought was interesting," she said. "He's the best, a good author as well. The rest I'll just express in a selfie." (She then took a selfie, though she hasn't posted it yet.)

Maybe she should. These days, Franco believes a social media account that's sans selfies is a bit suspect. "I am actually turned off when I look at an account and don't see any selfies, because I want to know whom I'm dealing with," he wrote. "In our age of social networking, the selfie is the new way to look someone right in the eye and say, 'Hello, this is me.'"