3 reasons I can’t stand selfie sticks

23 Jan

I’ve got a quick rant for the day: selfie sticks. I first saw them in Italy in December.

Nowadays, at major tourist sights, it seems there’s always some dude waving a bundle of selfie sticks in tourists’ faces, trying to make money letting travelers borrow them. And many tourists do pay for these, and use them to take selfies in front of major tourist sights.

I’m not usually the type who likes to bash technology, the current global youth culture and millennial generation. But selfies, let alone sticks just for taking them, are the type of thing that just drives me completely insane. Here are three reasons selfie sticks are a terrible item and need to go.

1) Because travel is about the places, not you and your Facebook timeline

I usually can’t stand those who have a rigid definition of “real” travel, but can’t we all at least agree on one thing? Travel shouldn’t be about finding a way to go halfway around the world and brag to all your Facebook friends (most of whom, by the way, probably don’t give a shit where you went). Travel should be enriching. It should be enlightening. It should be about what you learn, not where you take a selfie. The trend of taking selfies in front of sights rather than focusing on actually learning about them symbolizes a world where some of Ray Bradbury’s worst fears have come true: we only appreciate experiences for shallow reasons, rather than deeply learning about what we’re experiencing. We care about the fact that we’re at the Eiffel Tower, but we hardly care about the actual knowledge we gain from reading about it. A selfie is representative of a visually shallow and narcissistic culture.

2) Because there is nothing special about your selfie

Unless you’re this guy.

But chances are, you are a tourist, not the Christopher Columbus of the modern age. Your presence at the Duomo in Florence is nothing to brag about. Plenty of other tourists have been there before you. End of story.

3) Because they take time away from the learning experience of travel

There are people who go to art museums and take home with them more photos than they do actual knowledge of the art. If you are spending time taking photos, selfie or not, you are not taking in the experience. Your mind is focused on getting the good photo, rather than absorbing the knowledge of where you are. If you want to get great at taking photos, take a photography class. Don’t waste time taking cliche photos that have already been taken by countless tourists before you.

2 Responses to “3 reasons I can’t stand selfie sticks”

  1. lizlemonkim January 30, 2015 at 7:51 am #

    Hi Joe,

    This blogpost was quite an interesting read (and funny). I agree with you that selfie-sticks are sort of silly, and do take the essence of ‘traveling’ away because of the distractions. As ‘selfie-sticks’ being a new tech gadget, I was wondering what your opinion was on the rise of technology as it is affecting the way we travel, and how we experience travel.

    I would love to hear back from you!

    • travelsofjofo February 3, 2015 at 1:46 pm #

      I think that overall technology benefits travel, but selfie sticks are definitely a negative side effect of this.

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