Epic Kim Kardashian selfie courtesy of her Instagram.
Epic Kim Kardashian selfie courtesy of her Instagram.

Every November, the Oxford Dictionary announces their pick for Word of the Year, a title bestowed upon one word “judged to reflect the ethos, mood, or preoccupations of that particular year and to have lasting potential as a word of cultural significance,” according to the Oxford Dictionary FAQs page. Every Word of the Year illuminates a particular peaking shared obsession — and this year’s WOTY is literally a self-portrait.

The 2013 Word of the Year is “selfie” — defined by the Oxford Dictionary as “a photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically one taken with a smartphone or webcam and uploaded to a social media website.” According to the Oxford English Corpus (a mind-boggling database of 2 billion words in current English usage), selfie was first used back in 2003, with further research hinting at 2002 origins. Usage of “selfie” has surged 17,000% since 2012, according to Oxford.

Fittingly, it was creativeLIVE instructor Jennifer Lee who shared the first-ever selfie on Instagram — back on January 16, 2011, over a year before selfie queen Kim Kardashian even joined Instagram and two years before #selfie appeared as a hashtag on Twitter. What’s interesting about the selfie is that, by definition, it involves two very specific actions (photographing oneself and sharing the photo), both of which are acconmplished with a smart phone.

To learn how to take better selfies, check out these tips from Sue Bryce — because no one knows how to take better self-portraits than a professional glamour photographer.

Sources: The New York Times, Oxford English Dictionary, Instagram