Selfie sticks: Depending on which side of the divide you’re on, they’re either a genius tool for taking a perfect portrait of you and your friends outside of your tourist destination of choice, or they’re the devilish cousin of the massive umbrella wielded by people who are usually not looking where they are going, and liable to poke you in the eye, cause the user to bump into you, or both at the same time.
Apparently officials at major US museums and art galleries feel they are the latter, except that instead of concerns about people hurting passersby, they don’t want selfie stick users to accidentally scratch precious paintings or trip over priceless sculptures. The Museum of Fine Art in Boston, the Museum of Modern Art in New York, and many of the Smithsonian museums in Washington DC are among institutions who have banned the gadget. ‘Selfie sticks are restricted out of concern about damaging the art or people in more enclosed spaces,’ was the statement from the Getty Center in Los Angeles.
The gadgets, extendable poles that users can put their cameras on to take pictures from a distance, have already been banned by UK music venues such as the O2 Arena because of health and safety implications, and concerns that they may block the view of the stage for other gig goers.
Selfie sticks are also viewed with suspicion by football clubs, many of whom, such as Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal Football Club have already banned device in order to help prevent violence. Elaine Sigrist from Arsenal Football Club stated “It was viewed that the selfie sticks can be used as an offence weapon.”
As well as this, South Korea has banned unlicenced selfie sticks because they feel that the Bluetooth signals emitted could interfere with any other equipment.
So, could one of 2014’s most popular Christmas gifts also be one of the most unpopular for the world at large? It may well be that the selfie stick becomes an obsolete invention that disappears from wish lists faster than you can say “Could you take a picture of me please?”