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Self-portraits with a camera phone debuted in the mid-2000’s as digital technology expanded and social media sites rose in popularity. Once a phenomenon among young people, now everyone is uploading and sharing selfies.
Who hasn’t taken a self-portrait photograph with a camera phone? Even US President Barack Obama has been known to snap a few shots of himself with his politician colleagues. With the global expansion of social network sites such as Facebook, Instagram and twitter, the self-portrait taken at arm’s length or pointed at a mirror has become universally ubiquitous with digital natives and highly-connected and communicative people. From Hollywood stars to global decision-makers and religious leaders, it seems no one is immune to the quick selfie. As a testament to the popularity of the photo genre and the widespread use of the word, the Oxford English Dictionary included the word “selfie” in its online version. In 2013 it was named the “word of the year”.
A selfie of Miss Israel and Miss Iraq taken in Las Vegas and posted by both contestants on Instagram has unleashed a digital diplomatic debate. Intended as a message of peace for the Middle East, it has drawn criticism.