It’s not a ‘selfie’…

…it’s ‘doing a Liz’.

The other week’s heartfelt description of some of my amazing friends resulted in a trip down blog memory lane. [It also resulted in more shares than almost any other blogpost; two references to in wedding speeches; and making a record number of people cry. I aim to please…] In re-reading previous GWA (Girls’ Weekend Away) posts, I realised the point at which I began to be mocked for taking self-portraits and when the phrase “doing a Liz” came into common parlance amongst my circles of friends. (I love that Jenni also spotted this.)

Doing a Liz

This was in 2008. By 2010, my friends were borrowing my camera in order to their own “doing a Liz” at Greenbelt. When making new friends, this habit soon became known by the same name – only the other week a Matryoshka Haus friend shared a link to some extreme self-portraits with me, suggesting I needed to put some more work into my habit.

But alas, the term is not known globally. Instead, this practice has taken up a word first used on Flickr in 2004 and this year, its rise to attention has been meteoric – 2013 has been dubbed ‘the year of the selfie’.

Last year, #selfie wasn’t even in the top 100 hashtags on Instagram, since January, its use has grown 200%. When you put together all the top selfie-related hashtags on Instagram, there are over 40million photos. That’s a lot of faces. In the world of celebrity, Miley Cyrus has posted more than any other celebrity on Twitter. [Does this mean I’m comparing myself with Miley Cyrus, oh dear…] To top off the year, the word has also entered the OED – the demarcation that it is an official word.

This summer, I noticed that the selfie had become a negative mark of society, used by speakers at Christian conferences to decry the ‘me, me, me’ culture of today’s society. Are we more interested in ourselves than our relationship with God? With other people?

Last Sunday, The Observer featured a piece on Instagram and selfies, arguing that it’s a place where we think we’re showing how good our life is, when really, the cracks we’re trying to hide can be observed:

“We’re not fools, us humans. We can read a picture of you thumbs-upping with an elaborate cocktail as both a document of a glamorous night and a telegram to all acquaintances alerting us to how absolutely, completely fine you are and not thinking about your ex at all. Not at all. Fine.”

She may have had a point. However, it’s not going to change my own habit. It’s been a while since I last selfied in a public arena. I know for a fact that the last time I did a Liz on Twitter was in California – to show how hot, sweaty & proud I was after breaking my running PB on a gorgeous beach. My last Instagrammed one was the day I won tickets for The Book of Mormon. I think you’ll agree, my self-portrait habit is very much under control…

I wouldn’t say the selfie was the epitome of society’s destruction, but I’m terribly glad that ‘doing a Liz’ didn’t catch on with more than a handful of people!

Literally 2 minutes after I pressed publish, ‘selfies at funerals’ came to my attention. This madness MUST STOP! Can we cease all references to ‘doing a Liz’ in the context of selfies now, and instead leave it to its other uses (carrying things around in one’s bra and being an independent traveller, depending upon who you speak to)?

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