3 Tips for Proper Selfie Stick Etiquette

Just because you have a selfie stick doesn't mean you have free range to use it whenever and wherever.

Richie Frieman
5-minute read
Episode #359


selfie stickWhen I first saw the selfie stick, I didn’t immediately think I’d one day have to write an article about the improper use of it. I chalked it up to a fad that would eventually go away. Little did I know that the popularity of a selfie stick as one’s preferred method for capturing precious moments would become a worldwide phenomenon.

I’m not here to knock all selfie stick users as rude and aloof—just the few million out there who believe carrying around a metal stick that makes for a “faux aerial” view gives someone the right to make their own rules. So before you clothesline a crowd of people with your selfie stick, check out my top three Quick and Dirty Tips for proper selfie stick etiquette.

Tip #1: Improper Risks

I may be alone in thinking the selfie stick craze is a bit much, but when I read an article about selfie stick deaths, I had no idea how big of an concern this device has become. I mean, selfie stick deaths are an actual statistic? In fact, I read an article that claimed so far this year only eight people in the entire world died from shark attacks, but an astonishing 12 people died using a selfie stick. Really?  I was a pro wrestler for nearly a decade, where guys risked their lives (literally) and never saw one death. In fact, the UFC hasn’t had a death of any fighters in the history of the company, and their goal is to kill one another! I’m not trying to make light of these deaths in any way shape or form; I am simply stating that the shock and awe of the improper habits, or obsession, of selfie stick users. The selfie stick has spawned a new generation of risk-takers, looking to document their latest “accomplishment” and begs the question: is risking yourself for a photo really worth it?

One common tactic for the selfie stick obsessed is to capture crazier-than-normal moments. Even worse is to use the selfie stick to improperly boost one’s confidence to reach greater “heights” or thrills because of a possible shot. In such instances like surfing, hiking, standing over a cliff, balancing atop a bridge, and so forth, people are using the selfie stick photo as a badge of achievement. When you risk life and limbs just to show people a higher view of that danger, how does that make it cool? I mean, the selfie stick is a couple feet (maybe) farther up than normal, so you’re telling me that makes pushing yourself for a greater “rush” all the more “rewarding”? I don’t get it. Call this a tip for manners and for your health, but if you’re going to use a selfie stick make sure you know exactly where you are, what’s around you and how close the edge you are. Folks, no one gets “cool points” for getting hurt while using a selfie stick. Sorry, thrill seekers.

Tip #2: W.W.S.S. – Walking While Selfie Sticking

Similar to the issue about selfie stick deaths, some people use selfie sticks during busy sidewalk traffic and crowded streets. I live in the suburbs so if I walk along my neighborhood street, very little danger will occur if I use a selfie stick. However, what about major cities like Manhattan, Chicago, Boston, DC, LA, etc. where commuting by foot is the preferred method of transportation to and from work? I’ve been to all these cities and believing it’s okay to walk around with a selfie stick is like saying it’s “no big deal” to drive a Harley Davidson down the sidewalk in Times Square.

Using a selfie stick versus taking a standard selfie amidst massive traffic greatly increased your “personal space,” and drastically decreased that of everyone around you. So, if you don’t think crowding someone will make you Public Enemy #1, well, give it a shot during the hours between 8 am and 6 pm and let me know how it goes. When you use a selfie stick in a crowded area like a public street/sidewalk, what you’re saying to everyone around you is, “Walk around me! I don’t care if you’re inconvenienced … I’m trying to take a photo!” It not only makes you rude, it also shows an utter lack of respect for the personal space of others.

Personal space is of course a minimal concept in busy cities, so adding on someone waving a selfie stick around like a knight wielding a sword before battle, you’re only setting yourself to be hated by everyone around you. Folks, I can’t stress this enough: taking selfies, with a phone or via the selfie stick, is not a necessity.

Tip #3:  During Wedding Ceremonies

I once wrote about 3 Rules for Taking Photos at Weddings during the pre-selfie stick rage. Instead it focused on the older rule of guests rudely taking photos, using both hands to hold their phone. Gasp! Can you even imagine? However, thanks to the invention of the world’s most annoying accessory—the selfie stick—eager wedding guests taking photos has taken a turn for the worst. I’m not saying you can’t use the selfie stick during the Horah or while your wild Uncle Freddy rocks the “Whip/Nae Nae” with the bridesmaids, but the point of this tip is simply: there’s a time and place for a selfie stick-worthy photo opp. The ceremony is not one of them.

As I said in my article, one of the most unmannerly things I’ve witnessed at a wedding is when guests get up and step into the aisle to take a picture of the bride ... as she makes her entrance. This is a case of a guest putting their own needs ahead of everyone else's. The bride only gets to walk down the aisle once and what she should see is her future spouse at the end of it, not your college roommate from 10 rows back and 12 seats to use his selfie stick to capture a “breathtaking moment”.  So, let’s all agree that if you’re going to use a selfie stick at a wedding, please leave it tucked away in your purse or jacket until the ceremony is over, and the PAID/PROFESSIONAL photographer has done their job. Also, do not think your $10 selfie stick is a license to move everyone out of your way for a shot, use it to own the dance floor, or get precedence over any other guest’s photo.

As always, if you have another manners question, I look forward to hearing from you at manners@quickanddirtytips.com. Follow me on Twitter @MannersQDT, and of course, check back next week for more Modern Manners Guy tips for a more polite life.

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