What if a selfie exists as proof of how I got hurt?
With a title and lead like that, it can only mean one thing: The time to predict the 2013 Word of the Year (WOTY) is here!
The American Dialect Society will choose the 2013 WOTY on January 3, 2014 at its annual meeting in Minneapolis, Minnesota. It can get pretty cold up there in January, so expect a flurry of activity as members choose from words that cross a broad spectrum of parts of speech and usages.
Last year, the ADS chose "hashtag" (#) as the 2012 word of the year. I had my money on the politically-motivated "double down," but the victory of the symbol popularized by Twitter shows the growing influence of social media in our society and in our language.
In mid-November, the folks at Oxford Dictionaries reinforced the trend toward social media dominance by choosing "selfie" as their own Word of the Year.
In case you don't know what a selfie is, Oxford Dictionaries defines it as "a photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically one taken with a smartphone or webcam and uploaded to a social media website." So, basically, a selfie is a picture that you take of yourself to show your friends, friends of friends, and followers how cool you think you are.
The selfie garnered some buzz back in June, when former first lady/presidential candidate/Secretary of State Hillary Clinton snapped a selfie with daughter Chelsea (check it out here). The article about that selfie (which appears to have been taken by Chelsea) also notes that Hillary had joined Twitter a few days earlier. And, on a related topic, who can forget the short-lived but highly entertaining Texts from Hillary meme in 2012. If Hillary does run in 2016, she'll have the edge in social media, I think. (Although, I must say, NJ Gov. Chris Christie has a Twitter account and he's not afraid to use it!)
So, admittedly "selfie" is a strong contender for the 2013 WOTY. But, I don't think we should hand over the trophy just yet. There are some other strong contenders out there. Thanks to Miley Cyrus, "twerk" worked its way into the Oxford Dictionaries Online edition over the summer ("selfie" also made the cut). The twerking phenomenon also inspired this epic prank from the folks at Jimmie Kimmel Live.