The Selfie Craze
THE English language is a funny thing – many words sound the same but are spelt differently and mean very different things. Taken out of context, confusion can be imminent. So as this tricky language evolves it is interesting to see what becomes part of it and what is just a passing phase.
So without further ado…the Oxford Dictionaries Word of the Year 2013 is…wait for it…SELFIE! Yes that’s right, the slang term for taking an image of yourself – usually using a smart phone – has entered main stream usage. Once thought to be a word used only by teenagers and those in their twenties – mainly as a hashtag on social media sites – is now in the dictionary.
First appearing as a hashtag on Flickr in 2004, this craze seems t0 be here to stay. Now before we start to get into the demise of the English language debate, let me kindly remind you that the Oxford Dictionary Online (O.D.O.) is not the same thing as the Oxford English Dictionary (O.E.D.).
The O.D.O. reflects current and practical usage; it’s the descriptivist dictionary and is frequently updated. It demonstrates the language as it’s being used today and words can be removed from the O.D.O. after they stopped being used.
Selfies are everywhere today from Facebook to Twitter to Instagram. With new apps being developed everyday it will either forever be in our vocabulary or will eventually fade into oblivion, the result is yet to be seen.
The Mars Rover has taken a selfie, the Pope appeared in a selfie taken by some Italian youngsters inside St. Peter’s Basilica (but I would argue this doesn’t exactly count as a Papal selfie, the Pope is clearly not holding the camera), Kim Kardashian is the selfie master of our time and Instagram is her showroom. Her most infamous selfie to date is a revealing post-baby shot of her in a dressing room wearing a white bathing suit, simply captioned “#NoFilter,” to which Kanye West then responded, via Twitter, “HEADING HOME NOW.”
Selfies are not just used by the young though. This summer Geraldo Rivera tweeted a photo of himself in nothing but a towel, proclaiming “70 is the new 50”. The selfie is a digital affair and with the digital world showing no signs of disappearing, it looks like the selfie will be around for a long time yet.
There was a media kerfuffle back in August when the Oxford Dictionaries announced the addition of “selfie” to its collection, along with “twerk,” “vom,” “phablet,” and numerous other words that appear to have been lifted from a jumbled alphabet. The word “selfie” is not yet in the O.E.D., but it is currently being considered for future inclusion; whether the word makes it into the history books is, it seems, truly for the teens to decide.
Photos c/o famvin.org, yahoo.com