Skip to main content

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.

Amazon drones preparing for takeoff
Do drones jeopardize your privacy?
Why a college is using drones on campus

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."

Part of complete coverage on
July 30, 2014 -- Updated 0959 GMT (1759 HKT)
This ocean drone can survive typhoons and collect data from the center of the storm.
July 3, 2014 -- Updated 1636 GMT (0036 HKT)
Forget selfies. Those are so 2013.
June 11, 2014 -- Updated 0009 GMT (0809 HKT)
Beyond military surveillance and warfare, drones have proven themselves useful in a number of ways.
June 4, 2014 -- Updated 2109 GMT (0509 HKT)
It's almost entirely illegal to use drones for money-making purposes in the United States. But a little Hollywood magic could change that.
May 22, 2014 -- Updated 1933 GMT (0333 HKT)
A bird's eye camera sweeps over the green fields of Ireland, flies over the towering Cliffs of Moher and pans the ocean hundreds of feet below.
January 24, 2014 -- Updated 1658 GMT (0058 HKT)
Marque Cornblatt's interest in drones began with a bit of playful drone-on-drone violence.
December 2, 2013 -- Updated 2257 GMT (0657 HKT)
drones amazon
Imaginations everywhere have been stoked since Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos announced his company plans to start offering 30-minute deliveries via drone-like "octocopters."
February 3, 2014 -- Updated 1503 GMT (2303 HKT)
Ice fishers in Minnesota are reeling from a recent FAA decision prohibiting beer delivery by drone.
May 14, 2014 -- Updated 0056 GMT (0856 HKT)
Drones are everywhere. They are our present and our future, especially concerning warfare, Peter Bergen writes.
March 28, 2014 -- Updated 1325 GMT (2125 HKT)
Two thirds of the world population does not have Internet access. Before Facebook can sign up the rest of world it needs to get them online.
November 18, 2013 -- Updated 1023 GMT (1823 HKT)
Apart from what they do for the military; drones have already proven themselves capable sheep herders, delivery boys, tour guides, filmmakers, archaeologists, and -- possibly -- spies.
December 6, 2013 -- Updated 1432 GMT (2232 HKT)
The evolution of drones continues.
November 20, 2013 -- Updated 1347 GMT (2147 HKT)
Flying robot Skycall guides a student around MIT.
It's your first day at university and you've got 15 minutes to get to room 9-209. Easy, right?
July 19, 2013 -- Updated 1951 GMT (0351 HKT)
Deer Trail, a small Colorado town, is considering a measure that would allow its residents to hunt for federal drones and shoot them down.
November 12, 2013 -- Updated 2024 GMT (0424 HKT)
The Federal Aviation Administration's "Road Map" to integrate drones into civilian airspace by 2015 has provoked strong reactions from privacy advocates.
November 6, 2013 -- Updated 1939 GMT (0339 HKT)
"Live every week like it's Shark Week." Those immortal words come not from the Discovery Channel's marketing department but from Tracy Morgan on "30 Rock."
August 6, 2013 -- Updated 1326 GMT (2126 HKT)
Click through our gallery to learn more about the varied appearances of drones.
May 23, 2013 -- Updated 0116 GMT (0916 HKT)
Catch up on everything you need to know about drones.
July 12, 2012 -- Updated 1220 GMT (2020 HKT)
Drone sixton-a
Drones are currently a growth industry in the aviation sector, with scores of new companies competing for a slice of the market.
February 8, 2013 -- Updated 2043 GMT (0443 HKT)
Here are some key facts about the U.S. drone program, including how and when they are used, and where.
February 15, 2013 -- Updated 1612 GMT (0012 HKT)
The use of drones to carry out military strikes is controversial, to say the least.