The question is no longer to selfie or not to selfie. The jury is back on that one and selfie’ing is a clear winner. However, the latest craze around selfie sticks remains a bit of a conundrum. We’d like to explore and evaluate the pros and cons of adding a selfie stick or two to your repertoire of self-expressive, mobile social media tricks.
In favor of the selfie stick are the following reasons:
- Better Photos – Using a selfie stick reduces glare and vibration in your photos. When you’ve got your arm stretched out, as you try to snap a fast one of your pearly whites, the natural vibrations caused by the stretched muscle fibers in your arm will cause some amount of shaking. The selfie cameras in our iPhones and Androids are incredibly sophisticated and deal very well with vibration, nonetheless there is some amount of excess visual noise that can negatively affect your selfie. A stick aids in the correction of this by reducing the vibration by the time it actually hits your mobile camera. Thus, the result is a higher quality, better photo. That’s a major plus one!
- More Flexibility – A selfie stick inherently increases the range of possible poses, places you can selfie, and situations in which you can include more subject matter in your photos. Many times our selfies are limited by the amount of content we can fit in the screen between us and the camera. A selfie stick obviously increases the distance between you and the camera. In so doing, even a short range selfie stick can increase content square footage capabilities by a factor of 2 or 3. If you’re like us and enjoy experimenting with interesting backgrounds, this could be a significant way to increase your game.
- Perceived Expertise – You don’t have to be a professional photographer anymore to get the accolades and special treatment afforded to the Ansel Adams types of the world. In fact, carrying a selfie stick is a good way to put the world on notice that you’ve taken your selfie game to the next level. It’s possible that some people will not fully appreciate what you’re trying to do, but those in-the-know understand that one with a selfie stick and a positive attitude is generally not to be messed with. The credibility added to your reputation via a selfie stick will be good for your potential future career as a quasi-professional photographer. If you ever get asked to perform your duties at weddings, bar or bat mitzvahs, or graduations, carrying a selfie stick is pretty much a no-brainer.
- Increased Entertainment – Let’s face it, photographers with selfie sticks have more fun. A big part of snapping selfies is about capturing the moment and sharing it on social media. If you’re out and about with friends, the more friends you can include in your pictures, the better. How are you supposed to be wholly inclusive if you’ve got short arms and a large head? That would be a big problem for a large group in need of a selfie. Hence, a selfie stick heightens the communal experience to share on your social networks. We have written other articles around the psychology of selfies and believe there is a natural connection between entertaining selfies and overall mental health. The wellness effects of quality selfies cannot be overstated.
Now that we have listed some of the positive factors of carrying a selfie stick, let’s see if any of the negatives outweigh the rewards. We don’t think so, but we would be remiss not to discuss.
- Increased Baggage – The most obvious issue with carrying a selfie stick is the device itself. It’s yet another thing you’ll need to stuff into your merse. The good news is that there has been a lot of innovation in selfie stick materials; titanium is said to be available by late 2015 on high-end models and we suspect it’s just a matter of time before a nano-fiber selfie stick is introduced by the same manufacturers that designed the selfie poll for NASA’s #GlobalSelfie 2014 project.
- Conspicuous Danger – Carrying a selfie stick is, in many ways, equivalent to sporting a hot Chanel bag or a Patek Philippe watch; it’s a status symbol that screams good taste and deep pockets. Even though selfie sticks themselves can be purchased for quite reasonable prices, it’s well-known that the primary audience for such accessories tend to be affluent. Unfortunately, we live in a world of ruffians who might like to get in the way of you and your high-end selfie’ing. Like anything, you just need to be smart about how and where you pull out the stick. Worse case scenario, you can always use it as a defensive weapon to ward off would be evildoers after your fancy accessories. Just be safe.
- Unwanted Requests – We can almost guarantee that once your friends get over the initial rebuke of your selfie stick, they’ll be totes jelly of your new accessory. In fact, we know selfie stick owners who are beseeched almost daily to facilitate the selfie’ing for their entire social circle. Why? Because they own and operate the selfie stick in their group. The real problems emerge when strangers start asking you to get in their selfie and then send them the photo. Things can go from fun and exciting to weird real quickly. The best way to handle this is to be honest; just tell them you don’t feel comfortable over-extending your pole and you prefer to limit your selfie stick use to more personal photographic situations. As long as you’re consistent, you’ll find that it gets easier to reject the requests of unknown persons trying to take advantage of your selfie stick.
OK, so all in all, we think that that the decision to buy (and carry) a selfie stick is one that you should go into with your eyes wide open. It’s not for the faint of heart, but the positive impact it’ll have on your life could be enormous.