Dedicated to the word of the year

Dedicated to the word of the year

We attach memories to every passing year of our lives. As the year 2013 goes by, we look at how ‘selfie’, a word that describes self portraits, captured the world’s imagination, pervaded the social media and ended up becoming Oxford Dictionaries word of the year 2013.

Not only that, it erupted a debate about narcissism and social etiquettes, as Tumblr’s ‘Selfies at Funeral’ series brought together self portraits clicked at funerals, specially the recent picture of the US President Barack Obama at Nelson Mandela’s memorial service. Metrolife looks at the most talked about word of the year, through the perspective of Delhiites and experts in the Capital Influenced by the selfie wave,Vinamra Bali, a 20-year-old engineering student , says, “When selfie had beaten twerk to become the word of the year, I was wondering where’s the world going? Are there no better words to survive public memory this year?” That’s exactly what Vinamra put up as his status on the social media site, Facebook. “But the whole idea of calling it narcissistic is a blown up debate.

Whatever gets famous gets debated about. I remember a debate that emerged last year when another word, planking, became a social fever of a sort. “ Planking is described as an  act of lying completely flat across anything in an urban setting, where a friend takes a picture of you.  The word swept across the internet in the year 2011.

Prabal, a management executive says, “Call it narcissistic or whatever, I am away from my family in Punjab, and I love to share my pictures with them. Smartphones have just made it a little easier to share my life with my parents back home.” Prabal admits that he loves the idea of his family commenting upon his attire so that he knows what works best for him.

Completely refuting the narcissistic debate, Dr Samir Parikh, Consultant Psychiatrist and Director, Department of Mental Health and Behavioural Sciences, Fortis Healthcare, says , “ Most trends happen because peers have an impact on behaviour more so on the young population, and once a few do , rest tend to become a part of the same, as it becomes an in-group thing. One also needs to consider that almost everyone has a mobile phone and a selfie is an obvious thing to do, and once its shared most peers do the same. I do not think its to do with narcissism per say, its more of  a social trend and less to do with narcissism.” The doctor adds, “We tend to over react to how celebrities behave and over analyze them, like any individual one would have made a selfie to send it to family. friends, and I do not feel it can be looked in any other light. Selfie is a trend, and that’s
the only way to look at it, be it for a celebrity or a college student.”

As the war of ideas on selfies rages on, we leave you with the quirky bit of information on where this word emerged from. In the year 2002, ‘selfie’ made an appearance on an Australian social forum when a drunken man posted a picture of him, quoting, “Um, drunk at a mates 21st, I tripped ofer [sic] and landed lip first (with front teeth coming a very close second) on a set of steps. I had a hole about 1cm long right through my bottom lip. And sorry about the focus, it was a selfie.”

In the year 2013, the frequency of the usage of the word selfie  increased by 17,000%, according to Oxford Dictionaries research, coining up words such as helfie (for hair), welfie (for workout), drelfie (for drunken state) and more.

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