I love my selfie sticks. Yes, I have more than one. I take one with me whenever I go on a trip — most recently, to Disney World in Florida. And instead of receiving judgmental glances like I thought we would, my boyfriend and I were met with excited questions from curious onlookers. More often than not, people wanted to know where to get one so they, too, could capture precious moments, without flagging down strangers and imploring them to take the shot.
Sure, the selfie stick has been banned in a number of places,from the Palace of Versailles in France and the Colosseum in Rome, to soccer stadiums in Brazil and England and American museums such as the Smithsonian, Metropolitan Museum of Art and Museum of Modern Art. But when you're thoughtful about how and where you use the tool, it can be a great way to capture fond memories.
People hate the selfie stick for a number of reasons — it's an obstruction, it's dangerous, or, as the South Korean government claims, some may cause Bluetooth interference. One of my co-workers even quipped that "the selfie stick is the height of narcissism." He, like many other people, despise selfie sticks for the same reasons they detest duck faces.
But if you think about it, how is using the selfie stick not improving our lives? You and your partner don't need to take pictures of each other alone on your honeymoon anymore, and you can squeeze more people, and more of the background, into your shot.
And what's wrong with selfies? People have been taking self and group portraits since the first daguerreotypes became available in 1839. Smartphones and selfie sticks make this process easier, but the concept has been around for 175 years.
We don't have to waste time waiting around for a pleasant-looking passerby to help take a family portrait or worry about a stranger running off with our cameras (or worse, smartphones) anymore.
Using a selfie stick also gives us more creative freedom over what goes into our pictures, as we can see what the image looks like before clicking the trigger. This saves time, because you don't have to review your photo and then reshoot if you don't like the result.
And honestly, how much more of an obstruction is the selfie stick compared to a human photographer taking photos of another person? The selfie-stick users who get in our way are the very same people who cluelessly stand in the middle of the sidewalk, trying to snap a photo of the Empire State Building or Rockefeller Center while busy passersby try angrily to get around them.
The same common sense that applies to taking pictures anywhere applies to using a selfie stick. Look around you before whipping out your monopod or camera. Don't stop in the middle of the street. Be considerate of passersby, and be respectful of the time and place.
Deriding or banning selfie sticks is not very different from picking on selfie lovers for wanting to remember a special moment. There is no shame in that. Selfie lovers, ignore the haters, and (selfie) stick to your guns.
Lead image via Buzzfeed [screenshot]
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