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Words: selfie and dronie

Wednesday, 4 November, 2015

The word “selfie” was first used in September 2002, in a forum posting on the website of the Australian public broadcaster ABC:

“Um, drunk at a mates 21st, I tripped ofer and landed lip first (with front teeth coming a very close second) on a set of steps,” said the poster, student who called himself Hopey. “I had a hole about 1cm long right through my bottom lip. And sorry about the focus, it was a selfie.”

No surprise, of course, when one considers other Australian diminutives: “barbie” for barbecue and “firie” for firefighter. It was the Oxford Dictionaries Word of the Year for 2013. Definition: “informal 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.”

Speaking of selfies and their place of etymological origin, here’s a cautionary tale: a woman who posted one with the barcode on her Melbourne Cup ticket had her $825 winnings stolen. In happier news from the neighbourhood, All Black rugby star Sonny Bill Williams took an Oscar-inspired selfie. BTW, if you need some selfie esteem, Andrej Karpathy has written an algorithm to rate the results.

Last year, the noun “dronie” entered the vernacular. It’s “a video self-portrait taken by a self-controlled drone” and Vimeo employee Alex Dao is credited with coining the word in response to this excellent video posted by Amit Gupta.

Meanwhile, Alex Chacon, the creator of the around-the-world epic selfie video has made an epic “dronie” of his latest adventure in Mexico.

Finally, “Dronestaventure” was made by Michael Lopp using a DJI Phantom 3 Standard. The music is Buzzin’ by the Canadian DJ, producer and graphic designer Edmond Huszar, better known by his stage name OVERWERK.

This year’s Word of the Year? In our age of emoji, either # or ♥.


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