It’s official, the world has gone selfie mad. Not only are our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram feeds overloaded with the new phenomenon, it has been crowned ‘Word of the Year 2013’ by Oxford Dictionaries.
It’s even beaten other expressions such as ‘twerk’, ‘binge-watch’ and ‘showrooming’.
Not only the domain of teenagers and self-obsessed pop stars (Miley Cyrus I’m talking to you) even worldwide leaders are getting in on the act.
Earlier this year Pope Francis appeared in what is regarded as the first ever “Papal selfie” when he posed with teenagers at the Vatican, while Michelle Obama snapped a shot with her dog on the White House lawn in a picture that was beamed around the world.
According to Oxford Dictionaries the earliest known usage of the term selfie is an Australian online forum post from 2002. It read: “Um, drunk at a mate’s 21st, I tripped over and landed lip first (with front teeth coming a very close second) on a set of steps. I had a hole about 1cm long right through my bottom lip. And sorry about the focus, it was a selfie.”
So why all the fuss? Have we always been this in love with ourselves but are now only expressing this self-appreciation because of forward facing camera technology? Or is it more about how we want other people to see us?
Alicia Eler, who writes routinely about selfies on the arts site Hyperallergic, said: “The self-portrait and the selfie are for anyone who’s continuously documenting the act of becoming. It’s not self-obsession though. It’s a way to connect.”
And connect we do. According to recent findings 51% of people in the UK have taken a selfie, creating 35 million photos every month, and it doesn’t seem to be a craze that’s going away anytime soon.
So sit back, relax and enjoy the selfie show. Or better yet, embrace it yourself – just remember these wise words from sefie aficionado Alexa Chung: “There are two ways to compose this shot: you can either hide your face behind the camera or, if you’re having a good day, peek out from behind it — but for God’s sake, please don’t look directly in the lens.”
I couldn’t have said it better myself.