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 a landmark 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. They see them as obnoxious symbols of self-absorption. They even have a derisive name for them: narcissi (nar-sissy) 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 them at 1 World Trade near her office in New York's 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, "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 use Bluetooth technology. Or they connect the phone to the stick with a cord. A button on the grip triggers 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 (274)
  • MitchellF-Jac
    2/02/2015 - 02:55 p.m.

    I think the selfie stick is a good idea because when you want to get a lot of people in one picture or get a cool structure in the shot be hind you, it can.

  • MeredithG-Jac
    2/02/2015 - 03:04 p.m.

    I think selfie sticks are useless because you can just set a timer on your phone and take a selfie like that. I also think that selfies should be taken by your friends or pedestrians because if the pedestrian takes your phone then you can chase after them to get your phone back.

  • japreep514
    2/02/2015 - 03:17 p.m.

    The reason it could be easier to buy one at a land mark is because you could just get one without any trouble of losing it or spending to much money.

  • RuthJ1-Jac
    2/02/2015 - 04:23 p.m.

    I think that selfie sticks are a really good invention because if you want everyone in one photo then selfie sticks are really useful. If you use the timer on your phone it might be blurry.So you can use the selfie stick and it would be a better picture.

  • torionastewart123
    2/02/2015 - 05:54 p.m.

    I think the invention of the selfie stick is really cool. In days now, we love to get on social media and take many of pics. We don't have to break our neck to take a selfie! We can just use the stick, and it will give us the perfect selfie .I believe that teens will love this. The people who sell this will make lots of money!

  • KageM-Jac
    2/02/2015 - 06:09 p.m.

    I think this invention is great because people take selfies a lot and sometimes your hand can get tired while you are trying to get the perfect picture.

  • NateH1-Jac
    2/02/2015 - 06:10 p.m.

    This is a really good idea. I want one so when i go snowboarding i can go to the top of the mountain and take a SELFIE with my friends and family.

  • katem-Orv
    2/02/2015 - 07:04 p.m.

    I think selfies have gotten out of hand, and that using a selfie stick is just a waste of money. Imagine how stupid you would look using them. I think it is a good idea for what the selfie has become, but I just think that selfies are too self centered sort of.

  • BiancaB-3
    2/02/2015 - 07:13 p.m.

    What is going to be the next invention? The newest gadget is a selfie stick. People are buying a stick that you place your phone on, and instantly a picture will be taken. The selfie stick is being purchased by thousands of people. It is useful in several ways. It allows you to take a photo with multiple people in it with just the click of a button. Another use of the selfie stick is being able to take a photo without having to ask a stranger to take the picture for you. Asking a stranger is very risky because they could simply just run off with your device in their hands. I personally believe that carrying around a stick to mount your phone on just for a photo is silly. It is a waste of money. However, some people completely disagree with me.

  • CarsonP-2
    2/02/2015 - 07:14 p.m.

    There is this new thing called a selfie stick. You can hold it out far in front of you s press the capture button. You put your phone on the mount and selfie away.

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