The Current

Selfie sticks banned from museums, tourist sites

The long arm of the law is reaching toward your vacation snapshots. If your smartphone is not at the end of your fingertips but instead at the end of a selfie stick, you may find yourself discouraged, banished, shamed and blamed. Today we look at the social implications of selfie stick situations.

When it comes to controversial new technologies, they can often be difficult to explain... But not the selfie stick.

It may look like a cutting edge smart phone accessory, but it's really, just a stick. It's a telescopic pole, used to hold a smartphone out, at an extra arm's length — to help snap a selfie (a photo of one's self), perhaps with some friends, and perhaps with some great museum artwork barely in the background.

But museums and cultural venues will have none of it. Worldwide steps have been taken in the past few weeks to ban the selfie stick ...  including the MoMa, Smithsonian, and the Tate Modern. Even the vainglorious Palace of Versailles has prohibited the narcissistic stick or as it is known 'narcissistick.' And so have several museums and art galleries in this country, including the Canadian Museum for Human Rights, in Winnipeg.

'We are allowed to do whatever we like in a public space. But it doesn't mean it's ok. So there are rules and then there's decorum. So there's no rules about when it is ok to whip out a selfie stick when you are in the middle of a jam packed store, but it is still really rude. -  Karen Cleveland, a Toronto-based etiquette writer

While few would argue that the access to selfie sticks is a human right, the gadgets have become an essential piece of equipment for some tourists. 

Our two panelists have plenty to say about the selfie stick phenom and whether the cultural hotspots banning them today will wind up on the right or wrong side of history.

Rae Votta is a writer with the Daily Dot, an online news site about the online world. We reached her in Atlanta.

Andrew Keen is an entrepreneur, and author of "The Internet Is Not The Answer." We reached him in Aldeburgh, England.

Do you have a selfie stick? Does it really help you take better photos? Or do you think selfie sticks are the beginning of the end of civilization? Lets us know... and show us your work. Tweet or email us your best shots taken with a selfie stick!

Tweet us @thecurrentcbc, or post on our Facebook page. And as always you can email us

This segment was produced by The Current's Shannon Higgins and Marc Apollonio. 



♦ In Defense of the Selfie Stick - Rae Votta, The Daily Dot

♦ What our selfie sticks say about us - The Globe & Mail

♦ Selfie stick culture wars heat up with bans - The Toronto Star

♦ Should museums ban selfie-sticks? -Will Gompertz, BBC