Thursday December 10, 2015 0 comments
First there was the “selfie,” then there was the “selfie stick.”
Let me just say upfront that I’ve never been a big fan of taking a picture of myself. And it’s really only been with the advent of the smartphone and its built-in camera that we as a society have had the easy ability to take a photo of ourselves, without the need of a friend or stranger pushing the shutter and getting it so wrong.
Yes, with the smartphone camera, we can now snap literally hundreds of photos of ourselves making silly faces or getting that perfect one that “really captures who we are.”
By 2013, everyone was taking a selfie, and the phenomenon resulted in the word “selfie” being named “word of the year” by the Oxford English Dictionary.
And last year, the selfie movement took it up a notch with the invention of the “selfie stick,” an extendable contraption that held one’s smartphone much farther away than one’s arm could, allowing for group selfies and the ability to capture the background of a cityscape, mountain top or wild animal bearing down on them from behind.
The result has been a worldwide craze for the devices -- mostly with teenagers and 20-somethings, I would venture – intent on recording their every precious moment for all the world (or at least their envious friends) to see.
But the selfie stick has had a backlash from some.
Of course, the selfie itself has been criticized as being just another example of a deeply narcissistic society completely focused on its own self-absorbed beauty and coolness.
Selfie lovers say not so -- it’s just another means of self-expression enabled by the miracle of photography and the ever-advancing march of technology.
And if you don’t like it, get over it, grampa.
So OK, selfies are probably only obnoxious to those of us outside the frame, while everyone IN the frame thinks they’re fabulous.
But then came the selfie stick, and the comparative subtlety of the selfie became an out-and-out “I-don’t-care-what-anyone-thinks-about-me” explosion of self love.
Today, I read that the bigger cities of the globe are filled with knucklehead tourists swinging their selfie sticks around every local attraction, with the result being frames filled with other selfie stick-brandishers intent on snatching the same photo.
And they can be dangerous. Last summer, the Disney Company banned selfie sticks from all of its theme parks over safety concerns after a stick wielder tried to take a photo with the device while riding the California Screamin’ roller coaster.
But I doubt that’s going to have much impact on those wishing for a selfie stick this Christmas. They are surprisingly inexpensive – ranging from $7.99 to $19.99 at Walmart and similarly priced at other big box stores.
Ah, technology. It just keeps coming up with new things we must have.