The selfie stick has turned out to be one of the most polarizing phone accessories on the planet. Selfie pole haters seem to be the most vocal faction but selfie stick lovers clearly outnumber them or the haters wouldn’t have anything to complain about. Right?
Selfies as a concept rub many people the wrong way — most of them over 30, generations to come won’t even know portrait photographers are a thing — so selfie sticks just add insult to injury. Especially when they’re poking you in the head and blocking your view at a sporting event where the selfie taker is more interested in how they look watching the game than in the game itself. So meta!
We say don’t hate the selfie pole; hate the selfie pole user. In other words, selfie sticks don’t get in your way; people holding selfie sticks get in your way. There is a time and a place for all things. Don’t open your umbrella in a crowded space; look where you’re going; if you’re at a public event, pay attention to what’s going on in front of you; don’t walk around in public staring into a mirror….
Read Related: The Deconstructed Selfie: The New Rules on Taking Your Own Photo
Because selfie sticks are also one of the best inventions ever and one of the best things you can do with one is include your friends in the shot. Endless trout pouts and butt pics get old after a while. A selfie pole gives you a little distance, more scenery, a better angle and room for pals. All the necessary ingredients for interesting, compelling photos let the world in on your fun rather than screaming, Look at me! That’s a very good thing for social media.
Though tourists have notoriously bad selfie stick etiquette, these magical devices are ideal for taking travel pics. You don’t really want to risk handing your phone to a stranger in a strange land for group shots and you do want people to what’s going on behind you.
Many places are putting guidelines in place to encourage responsible selfie-ing. Washington, DC’s National Zoo bans sticks for the safety of people and animals. Many museums and stadiums are doing the same. Yosemite is considering Selfie Zones to prevent accidents and a Philadelphia street artist set up temporary Selfie Zones for Tech Week.
Selfies are here to stay and selfie sticks have opened up a whole new world that steps away from the mirror, embracing togetherness and the fun of group activities. Just don’t whip it out at arenas, in crowded museums or on sidewalks and the haters will have no choice but to go out and buy their own selfie sticks (if they haven’t secretly done it already!).