Anyone with a cellphone, smartphone or mobile device, is likely to have taken and uploaded a selfie — or maybe a few dozen. With an increase in usage of around 17,000 percent, Oxford English Dictionaries has announced ‘selfie’ as its word of the year 2013.
Because of the archival nature of the internet, the staff at Oxford English Dictionaries was able to track down the very first written use of the word. In 2002, an Australian forum user posted a picture of himself with a split lip incurred after a night of drinking with the disclaimer, “And sorry for the focus, it was a selfie.”
The convenience and shortness of the word have made it perfect for use as a hashtag on both Instagram and Twitter. According to mobileyouth.org selfies make up the majority of the types of pictures posted by the 4,800 users surveyed worldwide. In the UK alone 48 percent of posts to Instagram are selfies, with the US following closely behind with 47 percent.
While selfie was added to OxfordDictionaries.com in August of this year, it has not yet been included in any of the company’s printed dictionaries. However, with a runaway win as word of the year, and its very high usage among social media users, it is being strongly considered for inclusion.
Other candidates for word of the year include ‘Binge-watch,’ the practice of viewing multiple episodes or a whole season of a tv show, ‘Showrooming’ or viewing the item you want to buy online in a physical store first, and ‘Twerk,’ which, if you were on Facebook or Twitter this summer, you know the definition.
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