You’ve certainly taken one—that lean back, reach out, often awkward self portrait. Maybe you’ve shared it on social media, or texted it to a friend.
It’s the selfie, which is the Oxford Dictionaries word of the year. The word, and the action of taking a selfie, is so ubiquitous that there was near-unanimous consent among the Oxford word-of-the-year judges when it came to making their top pick for 2013.
Oxford writes on its blog: “Normally there will be some good-natured debate as one person might champion their particular choice over someone else’s. But this time, everyone seemed to be in agreement almost from the start.”
According to Oxford, the fist recorded use of the world “selfie” was on an Australian online forum in 2002, where a bloke posted a photo of his injuries incurred during a drunken stupor. The accompanying text read like this:
“Um, drunk at a mates 21st, I tripped ofer [sic] 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.”
This apparent origin of the word selfie in Australia is not so surprising, coming from the nation that calls sunglasses “sunnies” and shortens this afternoon to “arvo.”
Since the term selfie made its way onto that Aussie online forum, both camera-equipped samrtphones and social networks have proliferated to the point that taking and sharing self portraits, “selfies” if you will, is fast and easy. Sometimes its even too easy. (See the Tumblr Selfies at Serious Places as a cautionary tale.)
In hounour of the selfie, and to show that everybody is doing it, here are some of the Internet’s top selfie-takers.
Michelle Obama did it with her dog.
— FLOTUS (@FLOTUS) August 10, 2013
And the Obama girls were caught snapping a selfie during their father’s 2013 inauguration.
And who could forget the selfie Justin Bieber took of himself in the midst of a European tour meltdown, on the day after he insulted Lindsey Lohan’s mental health in an Instagram caption. (Was this before or after Germany confiscated his pet monkey and he cursed at that picture of Bill Clinton? It’s so hard to keep these things straight.)
While we’re at it, Bieber is pretty much the king of the selfie, what with his backwards baseball cap and slightly quizzical expression.
In fact, Bieber is such a fan of selfies that he’s backing a new selfie social network called “Shots of Me.” It’s basically the Instagram app, but minus the photos of food.
Rihanna, or as she’s known on Instagram “badgalriri,” is also a seasoned selfie taker.
On Tuesday, NASA got in on the selfie fun by posting this picture from the Mars Rover.
— Curiosity Rover (@MarsCuriosity) November 19, 2013
And, in perhaps one of the most famous selfies of 2013, Kim Kardashian proves there is no better way to show off your post-baby body than with a selfie of your derierre in a too-small white bodysuit.
According to the blog over at Oxford, this last Kardashian selfie would actually fall into the sub-category of “belfie,” which it describes as “a picture of one’s posterior.”
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