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Apodaca: Selfie death knell sounds at Oscars

March 07, 2014|By Patrice Apodaca

When Ellen DeGeneres staged a group selfie with Hollywood stars at the Academy Awards last week, it was widely heralded as a watershed moment.

DeGeneres proudly announced that Twitter had momentarily crashed due to a record number of retweets of the image. The frenzied media coverage of the stunt ran from over-the-top praise for its brilliant melding of stodgy Old Hollywood with cutting-edge New Media to consternation over its calculated silliness.

Either way, the general conclusion was that it marked a huge evolutionary step in our increasingly connected social-media world.

But I've been around long enough to be skeptical of such hyped-up claims. Indeed, I'm reminded of a talented journalist I worked alongside decades ago who often promulgated his theory that once a supposed game-changing trend or Important Development — good or bad — had reached the point of widespread acknowledgment and acceptance, its moment was already over.

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So let me be the first to declare that the selfie is now officially old news. (Actually, I don't really know if I'm the first, but let's just pretend.)

Don't get me wrong, DeGeneres' group selfie will continue to be dissected, discussed, disseminated and imitated ad nauseam. Many others will be inspired to — as Meryl Streep was heard saying — stage their first selfie. For the foreseeable future, it will be selfie, selfie, selfie, everywhere, all the time.

But this saturation of selfies will also signify that these photos won't be as cool or edgy as they once were. Young people, the ultimate arbiters of pop culture, will roll their eyes at their parents' selfies and move on to the next outlet for obsessive naval-gazing. Selfies have gone mainstream, and that means that something else is already the new selfie. People my age just haven't heard about it yet.

I had an inkling that this was the case late last year when that venerable guardian of the English language, Oxford Dictionaries, announced "selfie" as the international Word of the Year. My suspicions grew in the aftermath, as What-Is-the-World-Coming-To alarms were raised.

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