Selfie sticks: Love ’em or leave ’em?
In case you’re like David Letterman and need an introduction to the monopods that allow tourists and social-media users to take better-positioned photos of themselves, allow me to explain. These sticks essentially extend the reach of your arm to allow for better composition of a self-portrait with your smartphone. Selfie sticks secure smartphones on one end, and users press a Bluetooth button on the other – or use a remote control – to snap the shot.
To be sure, selfie sticks have been gaining in popularity during the past year, and they sat firmly atop many holiday wish lists recently. Perhaps adding to their popularity is the inexpensive nature of the devices; entry-level selfie sticks can be had for less than $10.
Certainly, here in Orlando we have a greater opportunity than some cities to witness (and experience?) selfie sticks because of all our tourist attractions. And, of course, they are prominently visible at the theme parks. It’s becoming quite common to see selfie sticks on Main Street, U.S.A., in the Magic Kingdom, as visitors pose for their iconic photos in front of Cinderella Castle.
However, selfie sticks are not allowed to be used on rides at Walt Disney World. (They can be stowed, along with other personal items, on the rides.) Still, guests are not getting the message, so the resort and its sister theme parks at Disneyland have posted warning signs near some attractions, such as Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, according to various media reports.
“Thunder Mountain has had an especially high number of incidents in which the ride had to be stopped because of selfie-stick use,” the Orlando Sentinel recently reported.
As someone who documents with photos and video much of what I do in the theme parks, I just can’t understand the need to use a selfie stick on a roller coaster. Is shooting that video really worth the very real possibility of injuring yourself or someone else on the ride? Especially when the images probably aren’t going to be that stellar anyway as your smartphone bounces at the end of a 3-foot stick.
Walt Disney World is not the first tourist attraction to ban selfie sticks, though many of the other venues have done so more because the poles interfere with other visitors’ experiences rather than their safety.
Have an opinion? Tell us what you think about selfie-stick use in the theme parks in the comments below.