I’m not what they call an “early adopter” by any means. When the selfie stick first debuted around a year ago, I hated them. Fast forward to today, I still hate them. Maybe I’m just not a fan of selfies in general (though I am occasionally guilty), but I get annoyed when I flip through my Instagram feed only to see a user obsessively posting selfies. To me, it just makes people look insecure, impersonal, and self-centered in a weird way. #endrant.
No matter what my views are about selfies and selfie sticks in general (and I really can’t believe I had it in me to dedicate a whole post about them), it looks like they’re here to stay. But I truly believe they impacting the travel experience for the worst, and here’s why:
I like to consider myself a social person and I love connecting with other human beings in small positive ways. Maybe it’s a generational thing, but I’m seeing that today’s world is filled with people in their own digital worlds with their eyes buried in phones. People are seldom smiling and saying “hello” to each other, and seem to be avoiding small social interactions like the plague.
What happened to posing this friendly question?: “Hey, do you mind taking a photo?” That question right there is not only the best way to break the ice with other travelers, but you’ll also get what you asked for – a [hopefully] decent photo.
Selfie sticks are further pulling people apart because it eliminates those moments of small talk. Sure, I get that people might be introverted, shy, or may not want to “bother” other people for a photo, but I find that other travelers are more than willing to snap a few photos for you, especially since they’re likely looking for the same thing in return.
Can Make You an Easy Target for Pickpocketing
Nothing screams “distracted tourist” louder than a selfie stick. Think about it – there you are in lala-land snapping away. You’re likely distracted because you’re thinking about which filter to use before you broadcast your selfie to all of your social media accounts. Guess what? You’re an easy target. There are many tourist attractions that are notorious for skillful pickpocketing crimes, even without a distraction. In fact, my mom was pick pocketed twice in one day while visiting Spain before selfie sticks were even invented. Maybe they’re banned in some places for a good reason…
Many Attractions are Banning Them
Everyday, I learn of more and more places that are banning selfie sticks for reasons unknown. Maybe the attractions want to protect tourists from getting hurt or being a victims of crime, maybe they are a nuisance, or maybe selfie sticks are simply just annoying as hell. Either way, the list keeps on growing. In fact, I just read somewhere yesterday that Disney has jumped on the banned-bandwagon too.
They Get in the Way
I hate being smushed in crowded places to begin with, and I’ve been to my fair share of crowded tourist attractions. The last thing I need is to get whacked in the head with someone’s selfie stick. Granted a selfie stick has yet to physically assault me (or come close to it), I could only imagine what it’s like to be next to someone at say, an EDM type of concert, with a selfie stick. Sticks in the air + crowd moshing = disaster. Or what about if someone whips out a selfie stick while on a roller coaster? While I’d imagine they’d get a seriously impressive photo, but things could easily go bad (for nearby people and the phone) if the selfie stick was accidentally dropped. They just seem to overstep the boundaries of personal space in my honest opinion.
They’re Something Else to Carry
I take pride in packing light. Before kids, I would travel for 5 days with just a small backpack. Now with 2 kids, I am still able to pack for 3 in one small roller carry on. I do this by avoiding packing anything that’s unnecessary. Unless these selfie sticks fold up like a compak tampax, I wouldn’t want anything to do with transporting it. What exactly do you do with it when it’s not taking selfies? Do you use it as a walking stick?
Just for fun, are your curious to see what airlines think about selfie sticks? They have an opinion too.