Evolution of the SELFIE

SELFIES Are Nearly 200 Years Old

homeEvolution of the SELFIE
Taking a picture of yourself (i.e., taking a SELFIE) is not a new thing. However, in the early days of photography, it required a tripod, a delay timer, and the ability to remain still for a long time. According to, the first known selfie was taken by chemist Robert Cornelius in 1839. However, SELFIES did not receive much attention until Andy Warhol turned them into an art form. In 2017, Sotheby's in London sold his SELFIE for $7.7M.
evolution of the selfie
That was then. Nowadays, our phones are crammed with countless GBytes of fake-smile SELFIES. It seems the iKids (Millennials and Gen Z) can't enjoy anything unless there's a SELFIE or video to prove it happened, an idea that gave rise to terms like PFP (Picture for Proof) and POIDH (Photos Or It Didn't Happen). The purpose of today's SELFIES, it seems, is to prove that you're having a better time, even a better life, than those nosying around your social-media feeds.

The way SELFIES are used on social media has given rise to another term: "Facebook happy." This is the notion that everybody seems happy when you look at their lives through a Facebook lens but far less so when you look at their lives over the garden fence. This idea is captured brilliantly by Google analyst Seth Stephens-Davidowitz in his book "Everybody Lies," in which he contrasts millions of Facebook posts like "I have the most wonderful husband" with millions of Google searches like "Is my husband having an affair?".

Intuitively, "Facebook happy" feels like a thing. Gen X's and the iKids' social-media profiles would have you believe the national happy index is racing towards 10/10, but the correlating pressure on today's mental-health services tells a different story. So, SELFIES. Good or bad? Maybe they're lies.

The term "SELFIE" came to prominence in the early 2000s (due to the popularity of MySpace). SELFIES gained even more popularity in 2010 when the front-facing camera was introduced on the iPhone 4. The increase of SELFIES led to the creation of mobile apps like Instagram and Snapchat.

In 2013, the Oxford English Dictionary announced that "SELFIE" was the "Word of the Year".

"Evolution of the SELFIE" Video

Here is a 3-minute video showing how the SELFIE has evolved:

The Difference Types of SELFIE

Type of "Selfie"


USSIE means "Group Selfie" or "Us Selfie". Typically, the background of an USSIE is the reason for the photograph. For example, many USSIES are taken with celebrities or in front of monuments. It is often said that the most famous USSIE is "the picture that broke Twitter" at the 2014 Oscars.


A YOUIE is a selfie of another person. (So actually, another word for a YOUIE is "photograph"!)


FELFIE means "Farmer Selfie". The FELFIE began as a way to put a face to farming to encourage buyers to source more locally.


HELFIE means "Hair Selfie". HELFIES are usually posted after new hair cuts or hairstyles. Many popular celebrities post HELFIES to show off their new hairstyles.


BELFIE means "Bum Selfie". BELFIES are usually posted by females on social-media networks (usually Instagram). It is often said that the first ever BELFIE was taken in 2012 by fitness guru Jen Selter.


WELFIE means "Workout Selfie." WELFIES are typically posted on social-media networks (usually Instagram). They can be posted either pre-workout or post-workout. Many celebrities and fitness gurus regularly post WELFIEs.


SELFEYE means "Eye Selfie". SELFEYES are a way for makeup gurus to show off their eye makeup or eyebrows. The term SELFEYE is attributed to the makeup brand Max Factor, which coined the term to promote their new mascara.


SHELFIE means "Shelf Selfie". SHELFIES are usually taken to show off books, figures, or collectable memorabilia. Many believe the term was coined by author Rick Riordan.


DRONIE means "Drone Selfie." DRONIES gained popularity in 2014 after drones became commercially available to the public.


DRELFIE means "Drunken Selfie". A DRELFIE is just a SELFIE taken while drinking alcohol.

The Variations of SELFIE Are Portmanteau Words

Many of the names that derive from the SELFIE can be classified as portmanteau words, which are words that combine the letters (and the meanings) of two words. For example, the term BELFIE is an amalgam of the words "bum" and "selfie."

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