The selfie stick - useful tool or utter nonsense? Read here about its history, Pros and Cons and travel expert opinions!

Selfie stick – Dawn of civilisation or useful tool?

Ever since I saw the first selfie stick in use – which was in Tokyo at the Meiji Jingu Shrine – I can’t help, but wondering, if it is just another really practical tool or one more sign for the slow but certain collapse of human civilisation?

Don’t these people want to make new friends on the road? Are they just too afraid to ask for help? Or are they totally convinced, that using a selfie stick is their perfect solution?

Topics of the article

Brief introduction on the history of selfie sticks

Convincing list of the pros and cons. Go there directly.

Interesting opinions of travel experts. Go there directly.

The selfie stick - useful tool or utter nonsense? Read here about its history, Pros and Cons and travel expert opinions!

Those two, especially him, at said shrine in Tokyo really seem to enjoy taking their picture!

The selfie stick is breaking news!

Google search for “selfie stick” has exploded in December 2014. More and more people know about this small invention, that brings selfie addicts on Instagram and elsewhere to their next online addiction level. People want to know “where to buy selfie stick”, and they are curious, who might sell the “best selfie stick”. Some seem a little uncertain and hence google “how to use selfie stick”. The ones who thought a bit more about it search for “selfie stick with remote”, and the very smart ones, that think, they figured it out, google for “selfie stick Bluetooth”. Some people just want to do everything themselves and hence search “DIY selfie stick”.

There are also still a few, who haven’t heard the expression “selfie stick” yet and hence look for a “camera on a stick” or for a “self camera stick”. Critics call him “Narcissistick”, but almost noone googles for that. 🙂

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Who invented the selfie sticks?

I was surprised to find out, that selfie sticks were already invented in the 1980ies in Japan. They helped athletes like extreme climbers make pictures of themselves and their challenges.

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Pros – Yes, me want “selfie stick”!

  • You can make bird’s eye selfies of yourself or a group, which can be quite cool at some places.

  • Shoot a photo of yourself with the attraction at remote places to prove you were there.

  • It’s good for experiments: If you’re a passionate photographer you might discover new possibilities and tricks. If you’re shooting a video of yourself you can walk or run, talk at the same time and record the whole operation.

  • You can hold it up to make a picture with an unobstructed view of the attraction at places with many people. Just don’t do it too long or someone behind you might start complaining. 🙂

  • You don’t need to lend your camera or mobile phone to a stranger, that might use the opportunity and run off with it.


The selfie stick - useful tool or utter nonsense? Read here about its history, Pros and Cons and travel expert opinions!

Two Asian ladies in Lucerne making a selfie stick selfie.

Cons – No! Me thinks “selfie stick” is very bad!

  • You have to carry the bulky stick around with you all the time.

  • The selfie stick might block the view of others on the attractions. I can’t imagine, how much worse the morning rush at Mount Bromo in Java Indonesia might have been, if every other person in front of me would have held up their stick. In some football stadiums they’re not allowed anymore, but that’s another subject.

  • You will stay lonely, because whenever you want a picture of yourself, you will use the stick. Maybe that person you did not ask would have been great company for dinner that evening?

  • Undoubtedly you will shoot more selfies, but will you ever look at those photos again? And do your Facebook and Instagram friends really need to see your selfies five times a day or more? Maybe they will unfollow you – but stay friends – and your social reach will diminish.

I asked travel experts about their opinion on selfie sticks.

Mark Wiens of Migrationology says

I’m pretty much in the middle ground on selfie sticks – if it helps you to achieve a photo you desire, I think that’s great. I’ve personally never been very interested in taking photos of myself (or people in general), but I mostly take photos of food, so for myself I would probably carry a tripod instead of a selfie stick.

Kristin Addis of Be My Travel Muse says

I do use a selfie stick only because a friend of mine had one and has been letting me use it for filming and my GoPro lately. At first I was really resistant to them because I thought they kind of ruined the picture. But I can’t deny that people get some really cool shots using them so I have become much more open to it now. Besides, as a solo traveler you don’t always have the option of asking someone else to take a photo!

Read the “How to take travel photos” tutorial of Be My Travel Muse.

Johnny Ward from OneStep4Ward says

Selfie sticks are everywhere I look, initially I thought they were a bit obtrusive but I’ve slowly changed my mind, to the extent that I’ll probably get one in the next couple of months. You look like a bit of an idiot, but they work pretty well actually.

Marissa Sutera from Little Things Travel says

The heated debate over the popular “selfie stick” has become a common topic of conversation lately. I used to be indifferent to the selfie stick for a while, up until I got one of my own. Selfie sticks make it extremely convenient to take that desired shot of an iconic landmark or beautiful scenery with me in the photo, or me and a friend together rather than us taking pictures of each other individually. It’s one thing when you are in a crowded area and you can easily ask another person to take the photo, but my favorite use for selfie sticks is for capturing that absolutely perfect shot on top of a mountain or along a trail where there are no other people around. Those are the photos when selfie sticks come in handy the most!

Check out travel resources of Little Things Travel.

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6 responses to “Selfie stick – Dawn of civilisation or useful tool?”

  1. Frances

    What a fun post 🙂 I have always laughed at people with selfie sticks until I was give one as a present! I guess it was a thoughtful gift because I was going travelling on my own. First time I was very embarrassed to use it, but after a while I didn’t care and I came home with some wonderful photographic memories.

    1. Let me guess: Now you’re addicted to it, right? 😉
      Thanks for your comment, Frances!

  2. It’s interesting to see where “selfie sticks” came from and what they have now become. It seems the overall consensus is using them in moderation!

    1. Hello Marissa,
      I agree with the moderate use. Otherwise people will start beating each other up with those sticks at crowded places like above-mentioned mount Bromo. 😉
      Thanks for your comment and contribution!
      Cheers, Charles

  3. hahah throughly enjoyed this post! I’m guilty of recently purchasing a selfie stick – or rather, it was given to me as a gift. It’s come in quite handy as my travel partner (husband) isn’t very good at taking photos of me. I don’t really like being in front of a camera, but sometimes it would be nice to have that one profile shot in front of a monument =)

    1. Hello Ailene,
      Thank you for your comment!
      Well, I guess, in the future you will have more shots of yourself then. 🙂