You might read the title “what is a selfie” and think, this is going to be some deep psychological journey into the mind of someone who takes a picture of themselves. Don’t worry it’s not. We’re keeping things a little more simple to start.

What is a selfie?

With the dawn of the smartphone, came a dramatic increase in media creation. We just recently watched a pre-smartphone documentary on the 9/11 attacks called 102 Minutes that Changed America. The documentary had rare and never before seen footage from multiple angles. Could you imagine the amount of footage that would be available should this have happened today?

Your face when your front facing camera is on

Well pointing your camera phone at landmarks, dinner and events quickly became boring for the people of earth, who demanded a front facing camera on their smartphones. Born was the age of the selfie. People have never been so aware of their own faces. Once upon a time, when your brushed your teeth in the morning was one of the few times you’d see your face. Now when ever you load your camera on the phone, chances are you are shocked at your own face appearing – example left.

Eventually man went on to further develop the selfie to include such abnormalities as the “duck face” selfie, the “slightly famous person behind me” selfie and  the “I’m on the toilet, I better WhatsApp the guys” selfie.

The front facing camera wasn’t enough though. Our arms weren’t long enough for the perfect selfie, so we constructed one of the most recognisable smart phone accessories – the selfie stick.

The selfie stick looks ridiculous, but it’s very practical for an impractical act. However, just this week a selfie stick was used to save a young girl’s life. Erynn Johns, 16, was pulled out to sea by a riptide. She was carrying a GoPro attached to a selfie stick, which her quick thinking Dad was able to grab and pull her back into shore.

Selfie sticks save lives.

What’s not a selfie?

Yes, this is pedantic and it’s minute and it’s nitpicking, but it’s also correct. A selfie, as obvious as it seems, should be taken by one’s self – not someone else. Getting this wrong were UniLad, covering the great news that WWE and TNA start Kurt Angle has had a tumor successfully removed. While it’s fantastic news, it’s not a selfie.

Every day, photographs are incorrectly identified as selfies. This is a growing epidemic, already brought to public attention by John Oliver. The media does indeed to be one of the main perpetrators in titling images incorrectly as selfies.

Next time you see a picture defined incorrect as a selfie, do the right thing. Briefly mutter to yourself “but that’s not even a selfie” and go on about your day.

Whoa there! While We have you…

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