When I first bought a selfie stick, it was mostly to be ironic, especially since it was only a $5 purchase. In the states, It rarely got any use. The one time I brought it out to take a group photo at a concert (before anyone was even on stage) I was immediately sniped and told it was not allowed. Now, I am the first person to say that I don’t want people impeding my view at a concert I have paid to be at (I may have thrown empty water bottles at people in the past who pushed their way in front of everyone only to wave massive signs blocking our view…). However, if it is not affecting anyone, is it really that big of a deal?
Then I went to Disney and saw selfie sticks EVERYWHERE. People were holding them up videoing things, taking photos of who knows what, and generally just taking up excessive amounts of space with them. Gross. This is why we can’t have nice things people! You know who you are…I hope. I definitley didn’t want to be one of those people walking around looking ridiculous so the selfie stick was put away and didn’t see the sun for a long time.
Then we moved to Europe. With warning signs about pick-pockets everywhere and so many languages swirling around you aren’t sure what to say to anyone, the selfie stick is the safest way to document your trip without risking loss. Don’t get me wrong, if someone asks me to take a photo of them, I will almost always use that as an opportunity to get a picture of us on my real camera (or even phone) in return but these chances are rare. I have had to come to terms with the fact that if I want to make sure we get photos together, the selfie stick is coming with us.
So what are the rules I abide by in order to use this controversial contraption?
- When not in use, put the selfie stick away. It may be annoying but every time I wanted a photo I would grab the stick from my purse, hook my phone up to it, snap the shot, and put it back. There is no need to use it as a pointer or way to create space by risking it bumping into other people.
- Don’t hold it up high in front of people. Imagine you are looking at a beautiful sunset and then someone in front of you holds up a selfie stick in the air to get some sort of photo or video of it – thereby ruining your own view of it. Don’t do it. Unless you are doing something insanely artistic, don’t hold the stick more than a foot above your own height in order to be respectful of everyone else’s views around you.
- Don’t hold it up and walk with it. There MAY be some rare exceptions to this but in general, it’s pretty rude to just walk around with a selfie stick holding your phone up in the air. First, people may think you are videoing or photographing them which is rude and uncomfortable and secondly, see above about how you are messing up everyone else’s view around you. Seriously, no one wants to take a panoramic shot with 10 sticks and phones poking out of it.
- Pay attention to people around you. When you get so many people from so many different cultures together in one place (I’m looking at you Mona Lisa) it can be easy to just ignore all of your own cultural social cues and be (by my American standards) rude. So many times people just ignore that they are holding people up, not giving people space, blocking their views, pushing them, cutting in front of them, etc. just because they can’t (or don’t) communicate with them. The selfie stick may have a bad rap but it doesn’t have to. It can be a great option for you to document trips and get the shot when there is no one else to assist, but if it is abused, its just going to get banned from more places and piss even more people off. Basically…try not to be rude.
What are your thoughts on the selfie stick? Am I being too hard on people or not hard enough?