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Is a selfie really news?
December 12, 2013 - Art Smith
The practice of taking your own photo is called a Selfie.
President Obama created a stir earlier this week when he took part in a group selfie with David Cameron, the Prime Mister of the United Kingdom, and Helle Thorning-Schmidt, the prime minister of Denmark.
It wasn’t so much that he took part in the photo, is was that it took part in it at a service for Nelson Mandela. This fact puts it into the category of a funeral selfie, which most people consider simply bad taste.
There’s been a lot of press coverage about the photo. Photographers covering the event captured it from several angles. During a slow news week it has continued to be reported on even after the trio returned to their different countries.
The selfie has been around for a while. They are a mainstay of social network galleries. Their use has exploded though in the age of smart phones. In 2010, phone manufacturers started adding a second camera to phones that allowed people to see themselves while taking the photos. Prior to that most selfies were taken by aiming the camera into mirrors. The really tacky ones were taken by aiming the camera into bathroom mirrors.
Earlier this year Oxford Dictionaries made “selfie” the Word of the Year. Little did they know that as the year came to a close the leader of the free world would cause a stir by taking part in something that up to that point, had been mainly been used by narcissistic teenagers.
The irony of the Obama selfie is that we will likely never see it. Thorning-Schmidt, who took the photo on her Blackberry smart phone, said later that the photo simply wasn’t that good and she didn’t plan on sharing it.
Too bad for Obama and Cameron, they likely both planned on making it their Facebook profile photo.
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Most of the selfie coverage has focused on this photos because it also showed the first lady looking serious.