A new word was added to the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) a few days ago: Selfie; that narcissistic trait of taking a self-portrait photo on a digital camera or smartphone and posting it on to a social network.
Apparently, the frequency of the word ‘selfie’ increased by 17000 per cent last year which merited its inclusion above words such as ‘twerk’ and ‘bitcoin’.
According to the Oxford dictionaries blog, everyone has taken a selfie, from Obama to the Pope. Mea culpa.
The lexicographers are up in arms about the OED accepting street slang into the official repository for the English language. Psychologists are pontificating about how we have become a generation of self-obsessed projectors. And they may be right. At last count there were 109 million photos on Instagram tagged, quite simply, #me.
So what does a ‘selfie’ really say about us? Are we so completely superficial and self-absorbed that we have to take a picture of ourselves without any sense of irony or sham ? “Hey take a look at me! How do you think I look today? Do you reckon I look better than yesterday? Feedback please. But make it positive. And I will reward you with something special. Another selfie”.
Or is it some harmless fad that provides a little escapism from some of the harsher realities of life. “How am I going to explain to my mother that I have forgotten her birthday? Well, I shall take a picture of myself eating a large slice of pepperoni pizza.”
The author, Steve Blakeman, is the CEO of OMD Asia Pacific
Mr Blakeman is a Contributor to Digital Market Asia’s editorial commentary; more of his views can be found under his column #sowhoknew…