The word ‘selfie’ – meaning a self-portrait photo taken on a smartphone or webcam and uploaded to social media – has been named as word of the year by Oxford Dictionaries. If you follow the link, you will learn that it gained this honour (following words like ‘chav’ in 2004 and ‘omnishambles’ in 2008) not only because it has seen a 17,000% increase in usage over the last twelve months, but also because it says something about the ‘zeitgeist’, the spirit of the age. In particular, watch the one minute, 20 seconds video clip in the story in which Oxford Dictionaries online editor Richard Holden is interviewed on BBC Breakfast News.
What, then, does it say? Does it point to a new ‘me generation’ in which people use social media to say, ‘Look at me’? Why would people do that? Ego? Narcissism? Or a low self-esteem that needs building up?
If any of these guesses are correct, then the gospel message has much to say to the selfie culture. It speaks an (unwelcome?) humbling word to the ego-trippers and the narcissists, but it speaks a welcome word of comfort and hope to those who think little of themselves.
What do you think?