It is an odd word, that. I became aware of it for the first time a few months ago when a friend visiting from Australia coined the term which originated in Down-Under.

Besides this particular word, Australians use many diminutives in their language – there’s brekkie (breakfast), chewie (chewing gum), chokkie (chocolate), cozzie (swimming costume) and Chrissie (Christmas). Not to forget trackies (tracksuit), sunnies (sunglasses), kindie (kindergarten), lippy (lipstick), mozzie (mosquito), oldies (parents), possie (position), postie (postman) and prezzie (present). But I digress.

Now we have learned that ‘selfie’ has been named word of the year by Oxford Dictionaries. It is defined as “a photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically with a smartphone or webcam and uploaded to a social media website.”

Taking selfies is now a global addiction – I constantly see people posing with someone hanging over their shoulder grinning into a smart phone (we also have a lot of tourists here on the isle to whom this seems really important). Even the Pope and also Obama famously selfied (is that a word?) and those sightings were reported world-wide. However, most of the published selfies I have seen are usually quite hideous, often showing distorted heads and faces (too close to the lens) or a bizarre looking arm or hand in front of the images, holding the phone further away. Some people go out with intent to make a selfie with some famous person of the moment – maybe hoping that person’s charisma will rub off on them standing at their side?

Am wondering what people do with those numerous selfies they have on their phones – besides showing them off over lunch to everybody on their table and the next, or sharing them on the web… is anybody even remotely interested in them after one look? Does anybody catalogue them and save them for posterity? Do people realise how they feed NSA’s facial recognition surveys?

I somehow humour myself imagining all those images floating in cyberspace forever and ever – until this sun system gets sucked into a black hole… and spat out on the other side, in some other dimension where those creatures wonder what all those selfies are…

Bhagawati
Related discourse Meditation Selfie – Complete the Circle

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