Wanna a better selfie? Get a selfie stick Tourists use a selfie stick on the Trocadero Square, with the Eiffel Tower in background, in Paris (AP photos)
Wanna a better selfie? Get a selfie stick
Lexile

Selfies at tourist attractions are nothing new. But until recently, if you wanted a perfectly composed picture of yourself with Times Square or the Colosseum in the background, you might have asked a passer-by to take the photo.

Now, though, relatively new gadgets called selfie sticks make it easy to take your own wide-angled self-portraits or group shots. Fans say the expandable rods, which allow users to hold their cellphones a few feet away, are the ultimate convenience. No more bothering passers-by to take pictures, no more fretting about strangers taking lousy shots or running off with a pricey iPhone.

But some travelers bemoan the loss of that small interaction that came with politely asking a local to help preserve a memory. And critics express outright hatred of selfie sticks as obnoxious symbols of self-absorption. They even have a derisive name for them, playing on the narcissistic behavior they think the sticks encourage: narcissi-stick.

Sarah Kinling of Baltimore said she was approached "17 times" by vendors selling selfie sticks at the Colosseum in Rome. "They're the new fanny pack the quickest way to spot a tourist," she said. "The more I saw them in use, the more I saw how much focus people were putting on selfies, and not turning around to see what they were there to see."

When Kinling wanted a photo of herself with her sister and sister-in-law, she asked strangers to take the shot. "Even when the other person didn't speak English, you hold your camera up and make the motion and they understand," she said.

But some travelers say it's better to stage your own vacation photos. Andrea Garcia asked a passer-by to take her photo in Egypt and later realized he'd zoomed in on her face, cutting out the pyramids behind her.

"I couldn't really be mad at him he wasn't my photographer, I didn't pay him," she said. The experience made her appreciate the selfie sticks she sees tourists using at 1 World Trade near her office in Lower Manhattan. "Take control of your image!" she says.

Selfie sticks are just starting to show up at attractions in the U.S., but they're found in many destinations overseas, from Dubai's skyscraper, the Burj Khalifa, to the Eiffel Tower in Paris. A soccer stadium in London, White Hart Lane, has even banned them because they obstruct other fans' views.

The Four Seasons Hotel in Houston just started making them available to guests last week, "similar to the way many hotels provide umbrellas," said hotel spokeswoman Laura Pettitt.

The sticks range in price from $5 to $50. Simpler models merely grip the phone, so users must trigger the shot with a self-timer on the camera. More sophisticated versions either use Bluetooth technology or connect the phone to the stick with a cord, with a button on the grip triggering the shot.

Critical thinking challenge: Selfie sticks are not available everywhere yet. Why is it easier to buy a selfie stick at a landmark?

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COMMENTS (61)
  • elliotja-Fre
    2/04/2015 - 12:50 p.m.

    Selfies are getting to popular. I cant believe that they are coming up with all this selfie stuff. I don't know why a selfie stick is coming out. Is it because they don't want their arm in the picture. selfies have spread all over the world. I think that is bad.

  • Bellap-Fre
    2/04/2015 - 12:53 p.m.

    The selfie stick does not spark my interest. I honestly don't see the point in it. Wouldn't talking a picture using a stick to hold your phone up be even harder? You could have the stick in your hand and someone could just come up and snatch if right out of your hand. It's a really cool invention but seems like such a nuisance to have.

  • Bellap-Fre
    2/04/2015 - 12:53 p.m.

    The selfie stick does not spark my interest. I honestly don't see the point in it. Wouldn't talking a picture using a stick to hold your phone up be even harder? You could have the stick in your hand and someone could just come up and snatch if right out of your hand. It's a really cool invention but seems like such a nuisance to have.

  • Omarse-Fre
    2/04/2015 - 12:56 p.m.

    According to the arrticle tourists are buying selfie sticks to take photos now. Tourists say that this is a better way than asking strangers to take photos for them. I believe that this is a great way to take photos. Altough not all people are ok with this.

  • Alexh-Fre
    2/04/2015 - 12:56 p.m.

    I personally think that selfie sticks are stupid. I'm not saying that people who use selfie sticks are stupid, but I don't particularly like the selfie stick. People are putting too much attention to selfies. I thought a selfie was suppose to be taken by you. That's why its called a selfie. If it's not taken by you its just a picture. If you want a picture of a landmark and your family, or something, ask a nearby person to do it. It seems better than using a selfie stick. What if the selfie stick is too high? Anyway, I wouldn't personally use a selfie stick.

  • jamieu-Lam
    2/04/2015 - 05:20 p.m.

    I don't like the selfie stick. It's something not everyone will want to use because it appeals mainly to females. They can take selfies with a big group of friends and fit everyone in the picture all at once.

  • christinab-Lam
    2/04/2015 - 05:20 p.m.

    To be completely honest, I think that the selfie stick is a horrible idea. Well, you have two arms that you can do many things with-- taking selfies is one of them, Why use a selfie stick?

  • brandonj-Koc
    2/04/2015 - 07:34 p.m.

    This new stick for the iPhone for taking selfies can make it even more steady to get better shots at different angles to capture that perfect moment.

  • AdenCBrown
    2/05/2015 - 12:01 p.m.

    Amazing. I never would have thought of something like this. Never again will I have to ask random people to take pictures of me! That is a worry that someone will take a lousy shot. If I get one, (which on second thought, I probably won't) I won't have to worry about that anymore!

  • TehyaWhite-Ste
    2/05/2015 - 01:22 p.m.

    A selfie stick seems so dumb that I actually can't believe that people will spend their money on it. I mean, people could actually make it themselves; people could just ask a stranger to take a picture for them. It is really that simple so I don't understand why so many people make such a big deal about this dumb thing.

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