The Final Word

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Posted November 27, 2013 in News
JeffGirodStrike a pose. “Selfie” has been chosen Word of the Year.

Personally I was hoping for words like “twerk” or “jorts,” or even “mandaliers”—as in my “mandaliers” hang out of my “jorts” whenever I “twerk.”

Oxford Dictionary wrote on its blog that it chose “selfie” because “it seems everyone has posted a selfie somewhere on the Internet. If it’s good enough for the Obamas or the pope, then it is good enough for Word of the Year.”

If there are two people on earth who can probably get someone to hold a camera for a picture, it’s the president and the guy with the funny hat and God’s cell phone number. But I look forward to next year’s national spelling bee when some braniac is asked to spell “selfie.”

Remember kids, “i” before “e.” Actually when it comes to selfies, it’s “I” before everybody.

Selfie is defined by Oxford as “a photograph that one has taken of oneself… and uploaded to a social media website”—but you already knew that. Because we’ve all taken, seen, liked, commented, shared, mocked, and, yes, probably even secretly downloaded our share of selfies.

Selfies have actually existed forever. Years ago, people called these photographs “mistakes” when they dropped their cameras or your grandparents were staring into the camera lens and checking for the flash.

Seflies have only become socially acceptable since Facebook. But are selfie photos a good idea? Opinion is split. Most people say “no” while experts say, “f*ck no.”

“People, other than very close friends and relatives, don’t seem to relate well to those who constantly share photos of themselves,” said Dr. David Houghton, author of a Scottish study on social media.  “Our research found that those who frequently post photographs on Facebook risk damaging real-life relationships.”

Simply put, Dr. Houghton says that if you put yourself out there too much, everyone will think you’re a snooty red-assed peacock. Then again, isn’t that the whole point of social media? To be, well, social?

Imagine Facebook as a big party. Sure, you don’t know everyone as well as you should, but everyone seems to be having a good time and everyday it’s somebody’s birthday. And sure, in a festive mood like that, someone is bound to over share.

 

Maybe somebody takes off their shirt, or somebody hits on the wrong person, or one of your relatives starts criticizing the president. At a party, things happen. The point is to keep it within the confines of the party atmosphere—and not take things solo with a selfie party-of-one.

People want to celebrate with you, not stare at you like a monkey in a zoo. When you take a photo of yourself making a duck face over a plate of lasagna, or in your coach seat flying on Southwest, nobody on this or any other planet is saying, “Wow, that winner really has his life together.”

In the mirror, the car, at the gym, the bathroom, in a changing room, pretending to be asleep, in a fox with a box, in a house with a mouse—think twice before reaching for your smartphone. Anytime you’re alone, within arm’s reach of a smartphone, and you think, gee now would be an optimal time to post to Facebook or Twitter? It’s probably not a good idea.

Nobody is saying you can’t post to Facebook or Twitter. That would be ridiculous. Just be way, way, way more interesting. And resist your natural urge to take and post a picture of your pitiful self holding a phone doing jack squat.

Here’s an easy way to tell if your potential photo is a selfie: Are you the one taking the photo? Are you also in the photo? (See, we’re already off to a bad start.)

Secondly, do a head count. If you’re the only one in the photo, you’d better be standing on top of Mount Everest.

And from now on, start filling your aching need for love and acceptance the same way the rest of us fill it . . . through empty sex, fatty foods and alcohol.

“Selfie” may be a new word, but “bourbon” has been in the dictionary forever.

Contact Jeff Girod at finalword@ieweekly.com


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