Real Origin of “Selfies”


By Marta  Malinowski

Earlier this week, Oxford English dictionary announced that the word of the year 2013 is Selfie. Selfie beat out other words such as “twerk” and a host of other Internet and social-media-related terms, like bitcoin. Taking a selfie means to snap a picture of yourself, typically with a smartphone, and post it on a social media website. According to Oxford Dictionary, the posting of selfies has risen 17,000 percent in frequency over the past 12 months.

According to Oxford Dictionary, the origin of ‘selfie’ dates back to 2002, when an Internet user used the word in a post on an Australian forum. It then became more popular as a hashtag on Flickr in 2004, but didn’t really become mainstream until 2012 with the help of Twitter and Instagram. That’s also when it became the subject of countless news stories.

Lets go back in time and see what previous words of the year have been. In 2002 the word was weapons of mass destruction. In 2007 it was default. In 2011 it was occupy. Now we have selfie.

When I was watching the news, they mentioned that after the commercials they would reveal the chosen word of year. I was watching with my friends and told them “Just watch it be selfie. Knowing what our world has come to.” I was right. After hearing the reasons why selfie has been chosen as the word of the year I was obviously not surprised. Wherever you go online, you can not avoid seeing people post selfies. On instagram, Sundays have become “Selfie Sundays” where each week people post his or her selfie. The hashtag on instagram, #selfie, has become one of the most popular ones. The term has become part of our everyday language. I do not go one day without hearing someone say the word selfie.

It is kind of neat to see how the English language and life has changed, just through looking at the past words of the year. Than again, it is also sad to see how our language has slowly dumbed down to the word of the year resulting in being such a unintelligently sounding word. In 2002, the word was weapons of mass destruction, which had to do with what was going on in history. In 2011, the word was occupy having to do with the many occupy movements of the time. But now, we just have selfie.

Selfies are showing off pictures of one self. It’s gotten that people are constantly thinking about me, me, me, me, me, and me. In taking a selfie you have to be in the perfect position, angle, and look. Don’t even get me started on the “duck face.” Once you take your selfie, you add filters or edit it. There is so much thought and work in just posting pictures of yourself. It’s kind of sad. What has our generation come to?