The English language is indeed dynamic, over the years ‘thou’ has become ‘you’ and ‘saith’ has been transformed into the simple ‘say’.
The dot.com generation seems to be particularly ingenious in coming up with new words. One cannot fault them however; technology is itself so dynamic that new words do need to be continually ‘manufactured’ to describe the rapidly moving technology feats.
‘Selfie’ I understand is one of a few words that have just been officially recognised by the Oxford Dictionary (or should I say the people responsible for keeping the dictionary up to date). Anyway Selfie is now an official English word, I don’t know if the queen is pleased but whoever coined it can give himself/herself a pat on the back. Shame it wasn’t me…
I guess the next question is; what does it mean? For people like me who are not totally glued to social media and the going on’s there the glue is definitely in the word itself. This is what I found under selfie in the Online Oxford Dictionary:
noun (plural selfies)
- a photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically one taken with a smartphone or webcam and uploaded to a social media website: occasional selfies are acceptable, but posting a new picture of yourself every day isn’t necessary
The last phrase did make me chuckle, all selfie addicts should please take note.
I’m assuming I’m having a bad hair day and therefore cannot add a selfie of my own to this monologue but why am I going on about the novel word in the first place?
As far as I’m concerned selfies are okay, I mean nobody can force me to view their workmanship if I’m not inclined to, but selfie does seem to be a very near cousin of selfish.
Selfish? Yea, selfish as in ‘I’, ‘me’, and ‘myself’. I mean why would anyone want to continuously spend ages taking their own portrait only to then upload it to so called social network sites. I mean apart from one’s own picture is there nothing else worth taking?
I also feel that social networks, as good as the concept is are actually making a lot of people anti-social. Many spend hours on end typing away to friends some of whom they have never met or seen in person and yet fail to interact with their neighbours, colleagues or classmates.
Apart from the virtual world many are becoming loners, they interact with people online and not much else. I believe that selfies originated out of necessity, no one else is available to take your picture so you take it yourself. In its self this is not a bad thing, you have the smart phone or webcam so why not if not.
When we look at the whole picture however we have to ask is this isolation really a good thing. I mean isolating oneself from the physical realm and spending a lot of time Online in a virtual world. A virtual world that is so often harsh, uncomforting and even cruel. We’ve all heard of cyber bullying and how some youngsters have been pushed to suicide by faceless people who exist only in their virtual worlds. We can and should ask, didn’t anybody (parents, carers, siblings, etc.) notice something wasn’t right before it was too late…Maybe people were too busy interacting with their tablets and smart phones and uploading selfies?
So you upload a selfie today and tomorrow you take another one and you begin to compare.
This scenario reminds me of 2 Corinthians 10 verse 12:
We do not dare to classify or compare ourselves with some who commend themselves. When they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are not wise.
Man is a social animal, or should I say humankind is made up of social beings. God gave Eve to Adam, because it was not good that he (Adam) should be alone.
Selfies, social media and innovative technology products are indeed an integral part of our modern world. However these products and systems are not an alternative to physical human contact that we all need to live happy and balanced lives.
By all means upload your selfie, but then get out there and interact, check on the people around you how are they bearing up. Get someone else to take your picture for a change and then return the favour.
Go on, get out there and smile to someone who isn’t on a screen for once.
Let me sign off so I can heed my own advice.