The selfie stick phenomenon is an absolute curse on the travel world, a blight that should be banned until people learn some consideration, or at least gain some situational awareness and common sense!
(Yes, this IS a mock up!)
Selfie sticks themselves have actually been around for quite a while now – albeit without the ridiculous moniker – and have been popular in Asia for quite a few years. It is in the last year or two however that they seem to have really exploded in popularity, to the point where they are starting to become an unofficial uniform for every backpacker and world traveller.
These selfie sticks are essentially just extendable handles that attach to any given camera and allow the user to take self obsessed, gurning selfie shots beyond the range of their own arms.
I hate them!
Okay, to be fair it isn’t really the stick itself that I hate. At the end of the day it is just a piece of equipment, a simple accessory for a camera or smartphone, and when used in the correct context – such as difficult positions on adventure activities where it wouldn’t be safe or practical to lean out with a camera – they can even be useful tools.
It’s not even the vacuous fad of the selfie I hate. Although to be fair I don’t understand the fad at all. I think it is weird, self obsessed and vain, and can’t for the life of me figure out why anyone would want to see a picture of my grinning, ugly mug instead of the awesome scenery behind me. Myself included! I know what I look like for crying out loud, I want to remember the thing I am taking the picture of! But saying that, some people do like them and that’s fine. Who am I to say what people can and can’t enjoy? If selfies are what you are into, then knock yourself out, take as many pictures of your face as you like and enjoy. I don’t get it, but to each their own.
The thing that I do absolutely hate about this ridiculous fad is the way these sticks are used.
What is absolutely guaranteed to get on my nerves every single time is the self absorbed selfishness and the complete inconsiderate lack of manners in so many travellers as soon as one of these tools of unbridled narcissism is brandished.
I have had views of great live shows around the world, particularly in Asia, completely blocked by walls of these offensive accessories. I have seen people swing them around in crowded areas, the record button on their camera switched on and their tiny minds completely oblivious to anyone else around them. I have nearly been hit with a swinging camera on the end of a stick more times than I can count, actually been hit more than once and have seen others actually struck with them too.
Accidentally I am assuming, but still.
I have seen swarms of travellers and tourists ruin everyone else’s chance of seeing or photographing a spectacular sunrise or a once in a lifetime visual experience without having cameras on sticks protruding into view. I have even seen mindless idiots reach over the rails in zoos to practically shove their cameras as close to an animals face as possible!
These are just a few examples of mindless inconsiderate behaviour, but perfect to illustrate why these should be banned for sale to all travellers and tourists, or at the very least require every traveller to take an IQ test and pass a manners and ettiquette exam before being allowed to buy one!
Like most things in life, it isn’t the object itself but the people using it that are the problem.
Despite the fact that many sports venues, tourist attractions and religious and cultural sites are starting to ban the selfie sticks, and with many more across the world starting to follow suit, we aren’t going to get rid of these ridiculous accessories any time soon, and probably not even the ego driven selfie craze itself. Both are unfortunately probably here to stay.
What I hope will happen is that tourists, travellers, backpackers and travel bloggers alike who use these sticks will start to develop a bit of common sense and basic decency, and practice just a little bit of ‘selfie stick awareness’ before they brandish them.
I hope that people just start to think a little, and realise that just because they have a selfie stick it doesn’t mean they are appropriate – or even needed – for every single situation. Not every photograph or video requires the camera to be at the end of a damn stick!
Most of all I hope that travellers will be a little more thoughtful and understanding before they start to swing their selfie sticks around, and show a little bit of the consideration that I know many backpackers and travellers are more than capable of.
Maybe if they did that in the first place, bans wouldn’t be necessary.
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