Although the selfie found it footing on MySpace in the early 00s, it was the release of the iPhone 4 and its groundbreaking (for the era, high resolution) front-facing camera in 2010 that saw the concept go viral. Three years later, the Oxford English Dictionary crowned “selfie” word of the year, which the male-dominated media frequently held up as the ultimate emblem of millennial narcissism, as typified by an infamous 2013 TIME magazine cover with the headline “Me, Me, Me Generation”.

It can be a mirror selfie with the front camera’s interface visible, or a photo of someone else’s iPhone capturing the shot (bonus points for being able to see their thumb on the shutter). 

The meta-selfie is simply a selfie that shows the act of taking a photo. In practice — as executed by various social media it-girls, including Dua LipaBella Hadid and certified bad bleep Addison Rae — the concept manifests in a variety of ways. It can be a mirror selfie with the front camera’s interface visible, creating an infinite spiral of selfies; a photo of someone else’s iPhone capturing the shot (you get bonus points for being able to see their thumb tapping the shutter button). The meta-selfie can sometimes find power in its caption too, which often winks at the performance on display. If taking a selfie was ever considered “cringe”, the meta-selfie takes that shame and pushes it to the extreme, showing us the BTS mechanics of the act in a contrived act of artful nonchalance. The whole affair is, undeniably, quite chic.

To look super sleek without any second-hand assistance, all you need is your phone and a mirror. Open up your camera and direct your screen towards the mirror so that the camera interface is reflected in it. Strike your pose and take a screenshot. 

Although the selfie found it footing on MySpace in the early 00s, it was the release of the iPhone 4 and its groundbreaking (for the era, high resolution) front-facing camera in 2010 that saw the concept go viral. Three years later, the Oxford English Dictionary crowned “selfie” word of the year, which the male-dominated media frequently held up as the ultimate emblem of millennial narcissism, as typified by an infamous 2013 TIME magazine cover with the headline “Me, Me, Me Generation”.

The explosion of the trend, then, is less about entertainment and vanity; instead it’s symptomatic of a retreat from privacy rights, the increasingly casual commodification of the self, and the sacrifices we make in terms of corporate surveillance for the sake of ease and connection. “On some level, we’re aware that we’re always being watched — it’s the spirit of the times,” Biz adds, “so this idea of ‘surveillance chic’ is showing up in our selfies.” After all, unless your account is private, you post knowing that any of Instagram’s 1.3 billion users could view that photo. For many, they’re sharing in the hope that they will.