Society’s New Vocabulary Word: “Selfie”

Note to self: add “selfie” to my vocab. The Oxford English Dictionary defines the term selfie as “a photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically one taken with a smartphone or web-cam and shared through social media.” They declared it “The Word of the Year” for 2013 and it beat out “twerk” and “bitcoin.”  Obviously, it’s a very popular word.

Would you ever believe a selfie to be worth one billion dollars? The Hollywood Reporter stated that “Publicis CEO Maurice Lévy has valued Ellen DeGeneres’ Oscar selfie at between $800 million and $1 billion.” Any takers?

How did selfies become so popular? Twerking didn’t become popular in a day — for instance, Liza Minnelli was the “original” twerker — and neither did selfies. According to the Huffington Post, Stevie Nicks took selfies with a Polaroid camera and whatever props she had. It seems like selfies became popular quickly because of a few influences like: the front-facing camera, the acceptance of selfies as art forms, and other selfie technologies, such as the selfie drone. The selfie drone is a wristband that flies off your wrist to take a perfectly angled selfie.

According to Chris James, a patent attorney at Google, “I think that the placement of a front-facing camera on most smartphones has made it much easier for people to take images of themselves alone, and with friends and loved ones. Because the process is now easier, people are more inclined to take images of themselves for sharing with friends, with family, and on social media.” I definitely believe that all selfie-takers have benefited from the front-facing camera. It is so much easier to take a selfie, without worrying that you will crop your face out accidentally. That’s the whole point of the selfie, right?

I asked Chris if people were focusing more on inventing front-facing cameras. He replied, “Yes, they are. Image sensors and lens optics for front-facing cameras are improving every several months. The main improvement we’re seeing is larger and higher-quality image sensors in very small sizes that can fit behind the lens of front-facing cameras.”

His opinion about selfies is that they should be used sparingly because they make us focus on our appearance more than we already do. He didn’t want to say for sure, but thought that maybe “front-facing cameras began to be placed into phones to enable selfies and video-conferencing apps like Skype, FaceTime, and Google Hangouts.” Because people focus so much on their appearance, he thinks that selfies will never go out of style; although, the number of selfies posted on social media will decrease. Selfie-lovers, don’t worry though, the smartphone camera will never go out of style.

This entry was posted in Student Writing Gallery.

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