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Keep up with the latest social media terms, concepts, and trends thanks to our comprehensive glossary.
What is a selfie? How can I take a selfie? What makes a selfie good?
The concept of selfie refers to a self-portraiture variant that takes the form of a photograph taken on a smartphone or webcam by oneself, which is then posted on social media platforms across the Internet. Social networking sites such as Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat are related to the Selfie community.
Selfies date back to 10th century England, when the Archbishop of Canterbury, created a self-portrait of worshiping Jesus that dates back to approximately 1,200 years before the modern camera was invented. Nowadays, the self-portrait is literally a selfie, and instead of intricate paintings or long-exposed films, a selfie happens with a cell phone and goes internationally via social media in matters of seconds.
Selfie’s first recorded emergence in written form took place on an Australian news website in 2002, but until 2012, the term did not see much exposure. By November 2013, the word selfie had appeared often enough in print and electronic media that Oxford Dictionaries had selected the word as their Word of the Year.
The selfie, or self-portrait, has become an increasingly popular phenomenon with the advent of the smartphone and front-facing cameras, with millions of images taken every day. Of course, the self-portrait is an easy target for personality-involvement charges, but the selfie instantly and easily reveals in visual culture, how you feel, where you are, and what you do.
In addition, as our social lives become more electronic, we become more adept at social media interpretation. A text conversation can fall short of expressing how you feel, but in an instant, a selfie can make it all clear. This is the reason why selfies have become contact devices rather than marks of ego.
Everyone has various reasons as to why they are posting these selfies on social media platforms, but at the end of the day it all comes down to sending out a message that gives a glimpse of who we are.
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