By now it’s old news but I wanted to give a shout out to Oxford Dictionaries for announcing “selfie” as their international Word of the Year 2013. My Mom, a former grammar school teacher, didn’t believe me. Even spell check in Microsoft Word, highlights the word in red and gives some funny suggestions to correct the obvious mistake (sulfide, sulfite and Elfie to list a few). Here it is Mom, taken straight from the trusted internet:
selfie noun, informal
(also selfy; plural selfies)
a photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically one taken with a smartphone or webcam and uploaded to a social media website
Selfie can actually be traced back to 2002, but only gained momentum throughout the English-speaking world in 2012 as it evolved from a social media buzzword to mainstream shorthand for a self-portrait photograph. More recently, giving even more credence to the word, a photo of the Pope posing with young fans at the Vatican has gone viral on social media, with gleeful reports that it was the first ever “Papal selfie“. Mom, are listening – the pope! Check out this selfie:
If the pope’s selfie doesn’t get my Mom’s eyes spinning, wait until she hears these spin-off terms showcasing particular parts of the body like; helfie (a picture of one’s hair) and belfie (a picture of one’s posterior); a particular activity – welfie (workout selfie) and drelfie (drunken selfie), and even items of furniture – shelfie and bookshelfie. The moral lessons of selfies may be difficult to discern especially when speaking with our kids, but the technological implications are pretty clear. As The New Yorker points out in its coverage of the announcement, the jump in self-photography maps directly to the inclusion of cameras in mobile phones. Coincidentally this maps to my quick blog post last week on why we use visual content in social media.
So, for the remainder of 2013, if you must, here is a fun infographic on How to Take a Great Selfie.