Paris - US President Barack Obama may have moved the
masses attending Nelson Mandela's memorial service with his stirring eulogy on
Tuesday, but it was his grinning "selfie" with the Danish and British
premiers that set social networks abuzz.
In a candid moment captured by AFP photographer Roberto
Schmidt, Denmark's Helle Thorning-Schmidt can be seen holding up her
smartphone, with Obama lending a helping hand, as they pose for a picture with
David Cameron, all three of them smiling broadly in their seats at Soweto's
World Cup stadium.
First Lady Michelle Obama, sitting to the left of her
husband, does not join in with the light-hearted moment, keeping her eyes
firmly trained on the podium where world leaders were paying tribute to South
Africa's hero Mandela, who died Thursday aged 95.
The so-called selfie - short for self-portrait - was
quickly picked up by major international news outlets and went viral on social
media sites, with many questioning whether the moment of mirth was appropriate
for the occasion.
"There should be a moratorium on 'selfies' during
memorials and funerals, no?" tweeted @JeffryHalverson.
"Is This The Most Important Selfie Of 2013?"
headlined the US-based social news website Buzzfeed, noting that Michelle Obama
seemed "not amused" by the impromptu photoshoot.
The act of taking selfies has become increasingly popular
in recent years. The word itself was named this year's word of the year by
A selfie is defined as "a photograph that one has
taken of oneself, typically one taken with a smartphone or webcam and uploaded
to a social media website".