Sunday night at the Academy Awards, Ellen DeGeneres broke the Twitter record for most retweets on a tweet. Posing with Bradley Cooper, Kevin Spacey, Meryl Streep, Jennifer Lawrence, and Brad Pitt (just to name a few) Ellen snapped a picture that would soon make new media history with 3.3 million retweets.
“We broke Twitter,” said DeGeneres after a commercial break. Apparently, Twitter sent DeGeneres an email notifying her that they had major errors due to the influx of Twitter users trying to retweet and favorite what is now known as “the most famous selfie.”
But why is this relevant? Is it not just fun and games? Well, no. Not really.
Ellen DeGeneres’s selfie stunt at the Academy Awards, while hilarious and genius, also capped off what has been dubbed “the year of the selfie.” “Selfie” was named word of the year in 2103 by the Oxford Dictionary, after the Oxford Dictionary added the term to its dictionary last year.
The Oxford Dictionary defines the word selfie as: “(n.) a photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically with a smartphone or webcam and uploaded to a social media website.”
This definition might not (and probably should not) be new to anyone in our generation, however, it does say a lot about where were are headed and how far we’ve come to see a made up word coined due to the invention of new media products like iPhones and Facebook.
But why is the Oscar’s selfie so important you ask? Well I think there are a few reasons we should examine the selfie heard ‘round the world. For one, as I’ve previously stated, it broke a social media record. However, I also think it says quite a bit that Ellen DeGeneres was even able to incorporate this joke into her routine at the Academy Awards. This means that enough viewers needed to know what a selfie was in order to make it a successful joke. This is directly related to theories that aim to examine just how much media is affecting our culture. In the case of the selfie heard ‘round the world, I think the success of this joke really speaks for itself in how much media is effecting our culture.
I don’t think, however, that this famous selfie is reveling whether or not media is affecting us in a negative or positive way. I think that question is a lot bigger and complicated than just one selfie.