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A Guide to Selfies

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by Jeni Wilson (subscribe)
Teacher educator and author of many teacher reference books. Amused by random ideas and loves random acts of kindness. Enjoys writing humour...seriously!Please see my Instagram: wilsonjeni
Published April 6th 2014
In Your Face And Up Personal
Selfie, photos, social media, Ellen DeGeneres, photography, Obama, hashtag, twitter,

This newish craze has recently been catapulted into our faces (pardon the pun) with all the publicity around Ellen DeGeneres' famous Oscar selfie.

The power of selfies can be seen by the fact that Ellen's selfie was retweeted almost 3.5 million times and followed by a competition amongst celebrities to beat that record. President Obama (as he clearly has little important business to do) has bought into this by claiming that DeGeneres' selfie was a 'cheap stunt'. You would think that they gave birth to the idea.

Selfies have been made possible through the extensive use of smart phones and other modern technology. A world hit has been written about it, and now 'selfie' is a new word validated through its publication in the Oxford dictionary.

Although the term has been around since the beginning of the new millenium, by 2013, the word "selfie" had become common enough to be included in the online version of the Oxford English Dictionary. Later in that year, the word "selfie" was announced as the "word of the year". I didn't even know that there was such an honoured title but 'selfie' is no doubt a worthy recipient. If you are unfamiliar with the term I have the official Oxford English Dictionary definition below. I love the added comment about the acceptability of regular selfies.

NOUN (plural selfies)
A photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically one taken with a smartphone or webcam and uploaded to a social media website: occasional selfies are acceptable, but posting a new picture of yourself every day isn't necessary.

Maybe it's an age thing but I personally baulk at the idea of taking a close up shot of my face. A lot of people obviously disagree so this raises a number of questions. What is the point of these selfies? Apart from celebrities and wannabe celebrities, who would take a selfie and for what purpose?

In an apparent contradiction of the term, a 'selfie' does not appear to be just for self. In fact quite the opposite is closer to the truth. Selfies are generally electronically posted on Facebook, Instagram, Flickr, Dating sites, Snapschat, Tinder or Tweeted. I wonder if anyone has actually taken a selfie just for themself.

I have also discovered there appears to be a serious side to selfies. Taking selfies makes it easy to create and share flattering images of yourself. However, one Facebook study found that there seems to be a negative correlation between those who frequently post photographs on Facebook and real-life relationships.

For comical reasons or as a social protest against sexualisation and stereotypes, some people choose to send intentionally-unattractive selfies to their friends. Charities have seen the potential to raise funds, for example the 'no make up selfies' has been used recently fundraise for cancer.

I think someone should start a course on taking the perfect selfie because it's hard to decide on the perfect filter, the caption and the hashtag. According to Kim Kardashian you have to know your 'right' angle, shoot from a particular angle, consider the lighting, and ways to enhance cheekbones. This is ironic given a posting after the birth of her child was criticized widely.

I intend to do a bit more research on this new addictive pastime that has become bigger and more long standing than the song Gangnam Style, but I'll get back to you about thatů. just let me take another selfie.
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Why? Because it's the latest craze
Your Comment
Congratulations for winning 2nd place.
by Bryony Harrison (score: 4|12048) 1647 days ago
Congratulations on your competetion silver Jeni!
by Katie E (score: 2|165) 1646 days ago
Yes, very funny!
by Jeni Wilson (score: 3|1831) 1652 days ago
Such a great article! Had no idea it was in the dictionary though that's hilarious!
by Chloe Doyle (score: 3|1349) 1653 days ago
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