Every now and then I come across a photograph in which the shooter uses selective focus with a purpose that really works and isn't just being used to be cute.
Creatively MJ, aka Matty, posted this image on Prego recently. The focus (and the composition) takes the viewer's eye directly to the bauble but leaves you aware of the fashion and the doll that is wearing it. I love this.
If your camera has the ability to do a closeup that allows the background to blur out (selective focus), ask yourself what your intent is. There is no right answer, of course, but if you are doing it just because you can, it can get tiring.
When I was doing wedding photography I often used a filter called a center spot. It had a clear center of about 1/3 of the total lens. The area around that was diffused. I used it most often for portraits of the bride in which I wanted her face sharp and the rest of the image to have a dreamy look.
I'm going off the topic here but I am really glad those days are over.
You can follow Matty on his blog at http://mynavyblue.blogspot.com/