Christmas buyers snap up selfie sticks

By Marlene Millott
The Age
December 22, 2014
Click here to view original

Some people would like to tell others where to stick their selfies; some just buy them selfie sticks for Christmas.

Sales of the sticks – extendable poles that attach to smartphones to enable users to take snaps from further away than arm’s length – are soaring this festive season.

The quest for the perfect selfie angle was being fuelled by social media, said Harvey Norman’s national business manager for technology and entertainment, Glen Gregory.

“With the popularity in sharing the moment through social media like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, we have seen a significant increase in the sales of the selfie pole,” he said.

“We are literally selling hundreds every day across our Harvey Norman stores and many people will find one under the tree on Christmas morning.”

The selfie stick trend took off in Asia. It has quickly spread as users seek to avoid a too close-up look, double chins and arms getting in the way.

Gi Yeong Seo was visiting Hosier Lane in Melbourne from South Korea when she was spotted snapping herself using a selfie stick.

“It’s easier to take photos with the stick. I can take a wide photo shot and it looks better,” she said.

Selfie sticks had become so popular in Ms Seo’s home country that the South Korean government last month announced regulations banning the sale of uncertified sticks.

Popular culture academic Dr Lauren Rosewarne said that when you considered the selfie craze, it was easy to understand the popularity of selfie sticks.

“It’s a way to enhance what we’ve already been doing. Selfies were one of the biggest crazes of 2013, and this year, the selfie stick has taken it to the next level,” she said.

“Often the most popular gifts are an extension of what we are already doing, so the selfie stick is an addition to the selfie to make it better.”

Dr Rosewarne believed the group selfie taken by Ellen DeGeneres at the Oscars in March fuelled our selfie obsession.

The star-studded snap, which features DeGeneres with celebrities such as Jennifer Lawrence, Meryl Streep and Bradley Cooper, broke a Twitter record to become the most retweeted message ever.

“The Ellen DeGeneres group selfie was one of the most circulated photos of the year and that was a group shot,” she said.

“Two or more people balancing an iPhone is a challenge, but the selfie stick is one of those things that facilitates that shot.”

Dr Rosewarne said the shopping trend showed we were continuing to be narcissists in the quest for the perfect selfie. 

That normalisation of narcissism came under fire last week, as bystanders at the Sydney siege posed for selfies.

BuzzFeed reporter Mark Di Stefano said he saw some of the bystanders using selfie sticks to take the snaps, which were widely condemned as inappropriate.