Selfie sticks becoming a theme park phenomenon

Posted | Contributed by Jeff

Orlando's theme parks are hotspots for the popular camera "selfie sticks" — and sore spots for some visitors. The hand-held rods, which hold a smartphone or camera on one end, can telescope out a few feet to create distinctive angles for photographs. The cameras can be aimed back toward the holder, allowing for a self-portrait — the infamous "selfie" — or a group shot with the photographer in the frame.

Read more and see video from The Orlando Sentinel.

Jeff's avatar

Tourists are already completely unaware of their surroundings, and this makes it worse. But honestly, why do you have to document every f'ing thing you do? Can you not just enjoy the moment? x10 at things like concerts.

Jeff - Editor - - My Blog - Phrazy

matt.'s avatar

Last February I coordinated my entire day at DLR around getting a good spot for World of Color (earlier in the trip I saw it from behind - near the California Screamin' launch area and thought it was cool enough to see again from the front) and my reward was...

...standing behind two dudes who held up their iPads to video the entire show.

As a 46-year old, technologically-lagging father who doesn't own a smart phone; has never videotaped his son's baseball, football, or soccer games; doesn't take pictures at said games; didn't video his school's band concert or Christmas concert, I am just curious to know how many people actually go back and watch these myriads of videos and all of the photos that are taken?

I understand taking a few photos to capture the memories, but I see people, especially at Disney, that take pictures of ever freakin' sign, lamp post, trash can, etc. I am at the point where the most pictures I take are just a few of my son and wife and I to add to our collection, as we like to see him "grow" over the years. The number per trip is probably less than 20 total.

I would think that fewer than 5-10% of these videos ever get viewed again and that they are taken just because "the user can"???

Walk-Off HBP's avatar

Selfies are probably the worst things to come around since swine flu.

The trick was to surrender to the flow.

In Hawaii, particularly Honolulu, I saw many, many tourists (from other lands) who never seemed to take the camera away from their face. Ever. I can see the value in documenting memorable occasions or fabulous scenery while on a trip, but I also see the value in experiencing those things in person, not constantly through the camera lens.

Funny about the "selfie stick". I was not familiar with that tool until just last night when I was watching the Miss Universe pageant and the hosts (Savannah Guthrie and some guy) pulled one out to get a selfie of themselves, the top five finalists, and the live audience in the background. As a bit it was kind of a fail, (like the entire evening), and the shots didn't turn out great either. And I thought the device looked so jacked-up that I didn't realize the stick was an actual thing.
But the selfie is hot right now and is not going away. (Thank you, Ms. Kardashian) And why? Perhaps its because of the increasing cultural trend toward self-importance. Everyone wants to be a star, don't they? Look at me, looking at me! I reckon the practice grew out of the private, intimate need for the on-line "dating" profile shot. Now there's college courses in "Selfie", and I believe the word made it to Webster's.

So I guess these things are born out of necessity. Maybe the inventor of the stick was watching Ellen's awkward but endearing selfie at the Oscars and said "Hey, wait a minute... That gives me an idea..."

Lord Gonchar's avatar

So far ahead of his time. (I believe this is from 1996 - who knew then that documenting our lives via the internet and social media was just around the corner?)

Tommytheduck's avatar

The funny thing about Selfie sticks is that you have to make a concious decision to buy one, and mostly, to lug this thing around with you.

A few weeks ago, I was in Vegas and saw 2 twenty-something dudes using a selfie stick inside the Belagio. At first, I just thought, OK, whatever. But then I realized that as these 2 were getting dressed up and ready for a night out in "Vegas Baby!" one of them actually had to say, "hey man, don't forget the selfie stick." And that to me is both hilarious and sad.

But then again, I'm a guy who will go out of my way to AVOID being in pictures.

I'm not defending the use of these things, but you don't have to "lug" them around. Most of them are just a little larger than your average pen when you fold them up after use.

I'll never understand the urge to film or take pictures of every single event a person attends. I can enjoy the moment more if I'm not concerned with getting that one great pic. We went to the rodeo in Fort Worth yesterday (don't judge me, it's tradition) and a guy in front of us videoed every single competitor in every event on some type of Android tablet. I'm not sure how can enjoy an event when you watch it like that (this is the part in the script where you tell me that it's not possible to enjoy a rodeo).

Oh no, it's entirely possible.
When the rodeo (I say ro-DAY-o) comes to town we always go. Our friend at the arena gets us into a suite (it's the event nobody else wants), there's cowboys, buckle bunnies, clowns, mutton bustin', a monkey that rides a border collie around, and a country concert afterward. Free beer, pizza, subs, and seven layer dip. What's not to like?

P.S. We had a blast in Ft. Worth. We were there during the cowboy festival and it was great. Cattle goin up and down the street twice a day. And the stockyard district there was fun with shops, restaurants, and bars. And I got to meet a Quebe Sister (my favorite western swing band) in person. The day was interrupted by our (my) commitment to SFOT for Halloween stuff. Which was AWFUL and I wish we'd stayed in Ft. Worth for the evening.

I took a bunch of pictures, but no selfies.

LostKause's avatar

I'm all for taking a few photos, and maybe a selfie or two, but I also don't understand how someone just can't put the phone or tablet down and enjoy what is going on right in front of them. Perhaps it's proof for bragging reasons. That can be achieved with a few simple photos. One does not have to video record the entire event, or whatever.

I tell the kids in my life that it would be nice if they would quit staring at screens all the time and enjoy reality a little more. I think it annoys them, but I think it also gets them to be more aware of the beauty that surrounds them.

Last edited by LostKause,

LostKause said:

I'm all for taking a few photos, and maybe a selfie or two, but I also don't understand how someone just can't put the phone or tablet down and enjoy what is going on right in front of them.

Agreed---particularly because someone has already shot that fireworks show/attraction/whatever in glorious steadi-cam HD, often from multiple angles and stereo sound with pro editing to stitch it all together, and loaded it up to YouTube for you to watch when you get home.

RCMAC said:

P.S. We had a blast in Ft. Worth. We were there during the cowboy festival and it was great. Cattle goin up and down the street twice a day.

The cattle drive is not part of any festival. It's a twice daily event year round. The annual stock show and rodeo doesn't actually take place at the Stockyards. It's at the Will Rogers complex in the cultural/museum district.

And the stockyard district there was fun with shops, restaurants, and bars.

I agree, but a lot of locals look down at that area as being cheesy and Disney-esque, with the exception of some of the bars on the west side of North Main. I never appreciated what a hit it is with tourists until I hosted a consultant from Great Britain about 15 years ago. He was dying to go down there after someone at his hotel told him about it, so I reluctantly took him for lunch on the way to the airport at the end of the week. He was like a wide-eyed kid in a candy store the whole time. He was fascinated by the rodeo highlights they were playing on the TV's in the restaurant we went to.

Well, I know the cattle drive is everyday, twice, and I was pretty certain the rodeo you spoke of was located somewhere else. I was just trying to tell about what a good time we had there in general. And from a tourist's standpoint, I guess. But I did recognize that the guys driving the cattle were the real deal and not the dime store variety cowboy you catch here and there and it was very cool for this Midwesterner to see.

I'll allow that the entertainment district there might pull away from the history and tradition that is the stockyards, and it definitely leans to the commercial side of things, but what the hell? We had a great time there, a really good meal, and the festival was fun. If it hadnt been there we would never have made the trip from Dallas to Ft. Worth to spend money, so there's that. My experience is that Texans tend to look down on a lot of things.

And Brian Noble, you make an excellent point. YouTube is one of the most excellent things ever, and is why I gave up trying to get videos of my favorite rides and attractions. It's already there for me to see and I don't need one of my own. I've spent hours touring the globe "riding" coasters and other rides I'll probably never get to visit in person.
Now if we could only get some of the folks supplying those videos to keep from turning them into selfie videos....

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