“Selfie” Crowned Word of the Year by Oxford Dictionary
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.
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