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Forget selfies -- make way for 'dronies'

Doug Gross, CNN
  • A new breed of selfie -- the "dronie" -- is hitting the Web
  • Drone owners are using the aircraft to show themselves
  • The term "dronie" was coined on video site Vimeo
  • One family shares drone video from their nationwide trip

(CNN) -- Forget selfies. Those are so 2013.

Make way, instead, for a new way so show your handsome, or lovely, mug to the Internet -- a budding Web movement that combines high-tech geekery with the human desire to be seen.

Call them "dronies."

As personal drones find their way into more and more hands, folks have begun using the personal, unmanned aircraft, kitted out with video cameras, to add a little flare to the Internet's ubiquitous "look at me" self-shots.

"Let's be honest, selfies aren't going anywhere," said Alexandra Dao, a community development manager at video site Vimeo. "But the dramatic reveal aspect adds another level of interest."

There may be no such thing as a "dronie expert" just yet. But Dao does claim the distinction of coining the term.

About two months ago, she saw that a friend had commented on a video posted to the site by tech entrepreneur Amit Gupta. It was shot on San Francisco's Bernal Hill, starting with a closeup of Gupta and two friends, then panning up and out to show the San Fran skyline.

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The friend "proclaimed it a new kind of shot," she said, "and I jumped in with the suggestion of 'dronie'."

A few more dronies popped up the following day, leading Dao to begin collecting them on a new Vimeo channel.

From there, it started the march to becoming a Web trend. A Web trend with a silly name? Sure. But, hey ... it's no "owling."

iReport: Remote aerial photography

Twitter got into the action last month. At the Cannes Lions advertising festival in France, the social-media service garnered some free publicity using drones to create scenic Vine videos of employees with other festival attendees.

The first was of "Star Trek" actor and social-media star Patrick Stewart, who appears in a new Twitter documentary.

Twitter's not alone. As these things go, some early Web celebs are emerging in the dronie world.

The Works family, Josh, Jessa and their son, Jack, sold all their stuff and took off on a permanent road trip in their Airstream bus in 2011. (Both parents have jobs that let them work from anywhere). They're documenting the trip with often stunning photos on Instagram and, somewhere along the way, got their own drone.

Voila! The "first family" of dronies is born.

There was the one three weeks ago from Camp Creek in Oregon, where the drone flies up to showcase the towering trees in the site's old-growth forest. Or their first, a vertigo-inducing zoom-out on Vance Creek Bridge in Washington, the second-highest built bridge in the United States.

It remains to be seen whether dronies will become just another flash in the pan on the fast-twitch Web, or a more enduring Web presence like the venerable animated GIF.

Dao says she's seeing some momentum.

"I've definitely noticed more interest in using drones for photography and filmmaking, even amongst my friends," she said.

"Drones just open up so many possibilities for interesting compositions and they're a lot more accessible than some of the professional equipment that filmmakers have had to use in the past to get these kinds of shots."

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