Phenomenon of the ‘Selfie’

The ‘Selfie’.. The ‘Self Potrait’ of the Digital Age

A form of self expression? A sign of becoming a self absorbed generation? or  A harmless fad and a bit of fun?


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Screen shot 2014-03-25 at 11.08.43 (Oxford Doctionaries Word of the Year)

A Trend of the Digital Generation

It has become a trend amongst smartphone users, celebrities, athletes and politicians have been seen joining in on the trend too.

The infamous ‘selfie’ has even reached outer space. On Christmas Eve last year astronaut Mike Hopkins captured one of the greatest selfies of all time during a spacewalk to allow the crew to change out a faulty water pump on the exterior of the Earth-orbiting International Space Station. 

The ‘Space Selfie’


Word of The Year

The word ‘selfie’ was announced Oxford Dictionaries Word of the Year in November 2013. Their chosen word of the year was described as a word or expression that had attracted a great deal of interest during the year. And language research conducted by Oxford Dictionaries editors revealed that the frequency of the word ‘selfie’ in the English language had increased by 17,000% since the same time in the previous year. (Oxford Dictionaries Word of The Year)


The ‘Oscars Selfie’

The most retweeted tweet of all time. This record breaking tweet was retweeted 750,000 times in just its first fourty-five minutes being posted online and more than 780,000 times after its first hour online knocking Barack  and Michelle Obamas famous photograph after the election off the record breaking spot.

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This world famous group selfie set off a trend across the globe amongst celebrites and even the Irish rugby team.

Six Nations ‘Selfie’

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The victorious team jumped on the ‘group selfie’ bandwagon to celebrate their win after the Six Nations in true celebrity fashion.

The ‘No Makeup Selfie’ 

Woman have been flooding the social media sites with pictures of themselves without makeup to raise awareness of cancer charities. This latest craze has shown the power of social media at making issues relevant to the digital generation. The online campaign sees social media users post a picture of themself without makeup and their donation to charity. In just 48hours almost €500,000 was raised and in the UK over £2.5million.

The no makeup selfie is a perfect example of the power of social media and the perfect example of how the ‘selfie trend’ has inspired woman to do their bit for charity rasie awareness in this viral movement, ‘#nomakeupselfie’ is currently the number one Twitter trend in Ireland as hundreds of photos continue to be posted every hour.

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Living in the ‘Age of the Selfie’

Many dismiss the selfie and say that it proves that our age is an unusually narcissistic one, but, selfies have changed aspects of social interaction, body language, self-awareness, and humor. They have become a new type of self-potrait that is different to any other in history and in art. They have become front page news. Selfies are a phenomenon because they’re fun– even if some selfie-takers smile a little more or a little less than others.

Jillian O’Toole,

University of Limerick,

Digital Marketing Intern,

Digital Training Institute.

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