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
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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)
  • CapeleyZ-1
    2/05/2015 - 09:30 p.m.

    There are multiple different ways to take selfies. A recent one is a selfie sticks. They are a way to take a picture of yourself from feet away without bothering anyone to take it. Although many find it convenient, some critics are saying that it is very ignorant to avoid spending a couple seconds to ask a stranger to take your picture. The price of these sticks range from $5-$50 with some sticks being very advanced. I think selfie sticks are a cool and convenient invention that I would use if I went somewhere.

  • EhmanAustin-DiB
    2/06/2015 - 09:42 a.m.

    Buying a selfie stick would be more helpful becuase you can get a more clear picture of you and the back ground. It would also help becuase if u have a big group you could make your phone higher wish makes it possible to get more people in the photo

  • ashleyb-DiB
    2/06/2015 - 10:38 a.m.

    I understand people like taking selfies and stuff but I really don't understand why many people mostly women want to buy a selfie stick I don't think it's worth the money.

  • kaylonnem-DiB
    2/06/2015 - 10:54 a.m.

    I read the article wanna take a selfie and it was about at new stick that they have to extend and take a picture better and which ever angle you want.

  • azaylag-Koc
    2/06/2015 - 12:21 p.m.

    I think it's easier to buy a selfie stick in landmarks because it's a tourist place and they will sell much easier there. They have increased in popularity and is now used everywhere in the u.s. .

  • jasonm-Koc
    2/06/2015 - 12:51 p.m.

    I think this is a very good idea. I have always wanted to use one so I don't need to ask someone to take the picture for me.

  • bronemies
    2/06/2015 - 01:29 p.m.

    why would you want to use as elfie stick to take a selfie thisd is one of the worst ideas. A stick that holds your phone so you can take a picture of yourself.

  • destins-war
    2/06/2015 - 01:53 p.m.

    I think this is a good idea. This is a good idea because you don't have to ask people to take pictures for you. So there is no risk of them stealing it or damaging it, you can do it all yourself

  • EvelynB-Tho
    2/06/2015 - 02:48 p.m.

    I would want to try this out i love how the article stated the opinions of people who liked the selfie stick and the opinions of people who did not like it.

  • TaylorSeifert-Ste
    2/07/2015 - 07:13 p.m.

    The whole selfie thing really annoys me. There are so many people who think they aren't attractive, yet they spend so much time taking selfies to try and make themselves look good. I wish people could just focus on the beauty of nature or the location they are at instead of being selfie obsessive.

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