Looking Glass Language

a word bird reflects on life & language

Wordy Wednesday: Selfie

Aki Hoshide selfie in space

Best Selfie ever? International Space Station astronaut Akihiko Hoshide capturing Earth in his visor, whilst in space. It’s awesome.

Come on, ‘fess up: you’ve done it haven’t you? You’ve snapped shots of yourself and posted them on social media (if you’re over 18, you’ve probably tried to frame them to look like they were taken by someone else).

I, for instance, couldn’t resist taking one after my friend Didier let me try on the fabulous wig he wears when doing drag (see below). Damn, I love that wig!

Selfie in a wig

Reasons to take selfies:

  • You think you’re looking hot
  • You’re somewhere amazing
  • You’re doing something amazing
  • You’re with someone famous (selfies with Pope Francis are proving very popular)
  • You’re with your mates and you want to show everyone else how much fun you’re having
  • You’re 14 and your day wouldn’t be complete without at least one selfie posted on Instagram

Selfies have become ubiquitous, even in the most inappropriate circumstances: there’s even a Tumblr site called Selfies at Funerals.

Actress, tap dancer and comedian Charlene deGuzman stars in I forgot my phone: a smart and depressing short film about the overuse of smartphones (including a scene on selfies)…


The first recorded use of the word was in 2002 on an Australian online forum:

“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.”

Selfie appeared on Flickr as a hashtag as early as 2004. And now everyone from Pope Francis to astronauts is doing it, and the noun Selfie has been declared the word of the year by the Oxford Dictionary.

Don’t know your duck face from your belfie? Check out this article in The Guardian, which gives the do’s and don’ts (A belfie is a bum selfie: don’t do it. Don’t even think about doing it.)

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  1. Pingback: #shelfie, #26xmas | Looking Glass Language

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