The Curious Case of the Selfie Stick

Look at me Ma. I'm on Holidays! Selfie Stick
Look at me Ma! I’m on holiday!

I loathe selfies. Ergo, I loathe selfie sticks.

And the word ergo come to think of it.

The selfie stick for me is right up there on my list of hated tech trends somewhere between the bluetooth headset and customised mobile phone ringtones, especially if the phone owner is of adult age.

No exceptions.

Everything about the selfie makes my skin bristle. The pop culture, celebrity endorsed fad that has infected our generation. The instantaneous desire to capture a moment and share it with your Twitter/Facebook/Snapchat/Instagram followers. Everyone’s a superstar in their own clique.

Those of us in our thirties and beyond should know better. I found myself nodding in agreement by this article on Buzzfeed earlier which hit home a few truths about crossing the threshold from teenage years into adulthood. Fortunately little photographic evidence existed of yours truly back then and I count my blessings every day. Many long since forgotten incidents, some I still need therapy to exorcise completely could easily have been immortalised in today’s snap happy culture, circulated in the time it takes to hit SEND. Slane Girl anyone?

I’ve travelled quite a bit in the past two years and the selfie seems to have evolved during that time from ‘I need to take a picture of this night so I’ll never forget you guys.‘ to using some Go-Go Gadget Extension Hand to hold an iPhone a mile away to capture two pinheads in the same postage stamp.

Snap. “No, let’s retake that, my hair’s covering my face.”
Snap. “You blinked in that one!”

Never mind the fact that you’re standing in front of Machu Picchu, one of the New Seven Wonders of the World with a stream of tourists waiting for you to vary your camera angle by the slightest of degrees.

This reliance on technology frustrates me to no end. Perhaps as this is the last blog post I’ll ever write as a 32 year old on the eve of another birthday, I’m feeling my age a little. The old man in me pining for simpler times. At the risk of sounding like a stick-in-the-mud Victor Meldrew, a throwback to times when human interaction and politely asking someone to take a photo was a simple joy. An interaction with a stranger, sharing albeit briefly in their perfect moment.

Instead we have backpacking tourists capturing images for a scrapbook, ticking the boxes with a floating head caught at the right angle against a postcard image.

Selfie StickI’ve written a previous post about the disturbing trend of reality TV stars and the get rich quick culture suddenly amassing fame and fortune, a reward for their toxic, trashy, dumb or entertaining behaviour.

The deranged egomaniac Kim Kardashian released a book this Summer called Selfish, which was a collection of her favourite selfies dating back to when she was a relative nobody (i.e. before her sex tape launched her celebrity star) to current day where she regularly updates her 35 million followers with daily ground breaking news.

For anyone who wants a giggle I suggest reading the blurb that accompanies the book here. For those with more pressing things to do like shaving their pits, I’ve included a sentence below.

Widely regarded as a trailblazer of the “selfie movement”—a modern-day self-portrait of the digital age—Kim has mastered the art of taking flattering and highly personal photos of oneself.

The man responsible for the latest iteration of the Selfie Stick, influenced by an older less successful prototype, is a Canadian toy and gadget inventor called Wayne Fromm. He must be worth a fortune now given our cultures desire to capture and record every living, breathing moment using our ‘dumb’ phones connected to our preferred image platform.

I understand that there will be moments when the majesty and exquisite beauty of a countryside in the middle of the glens of Antrim won’t have a helpful passerby anywhere in sight to capture the moment. I also understand that a solo traveller won’t always have a companion by their side to record for posterity a treasured memory.

But what I’ll never understand is our insistence to carry a glorified walking stick to lean on this technology instead of simply asking someone to take your bloody photo where, 9 times out of 10, they’ll make a better stab at it! If there’s no one within earshot then you need to probably ask yourself if the picture is worth taking. In any case, why does your smug fat head need to be in every image? To prove that you were there?

Tagging your location on Facebook will take care of that little gripe. 🙂

Images attributed to dailymail.co.uk – here and someecards.com

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