Selfie… Who doesn’t know what a selfie is? Selfie is so popular it debuted as a new word in foremost dictionaries – Oxford and Merriam- Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary in 2013 among them. It was even voted as the Oxford Dictionaries’ Word of the Year in the same year. It is largely tolerated by the society, even being enjoyed by older folks/adults too because it is just meant for plain and simple enjoyment. Selfie is supposed to be fun.
As selfie starts to take a deeper root in the human culture and as it precariously borders on narcissism, the society is starting to take it more seriously. Maybe selfie is still young and have not fully evolved, or maybe it was informally born so there aren’t really rules, or is there?
To a certain extent, there is nothing wrong with it. In fact, when you are traveling, it would even be “a sin” not to take photos of the places you’ve seen, the food you ate, hotels/resorts you stayed in, the people you met, etc. to be shared in the social media. A blog like The Worst Places to Take a Selfie posted in Telegraph Travel – Travel Galleries, however, reminds you that there must be some restraints when it comes to selfie.
Telegraph columnist Anthony Horowitz recently visited Auschwitz, where he was shocked to witness tourists taking selfies. Here are other attractions that where people should probably think twice before snapping themselves…
The Holocaust Memorial, Berlin. Not really the place for a thumbs up.
The young people of this generation must leaf through the pages of their history books to learn about the memory that this place holds before puckering their lips or making a face with Auschwitz for a backdrop, and clicking their cameras. Maybe if they know that there were about 6 million Jews who were annihilated during the Holocaust, they would sensitively stop making selfies.
One such selfie caught the attention (and ire) of many with Teens Post Selfies At Auschwitz In Controversial Facebook Group. Of all people, he could be an Israelite who happened to be a member of an Israeli Facebook group “With My Besties in Auschwitz.” It generated over 12,000 likes before it received harsh censure; it was pulled down two days later.
This Twitter user later posted an apology on … after his picture was featured on the blog. (Chernobyl)
Chernobyl is the site of the worst nuclear accident in history that led the death of about 31 people. It represents too an ensuing battle to contain radiation to avert large-scale and long-term effects on those exposed estimated to be over half a million workers.
Is Ground Zero an appropriate backdrop for a couple’s selfie?
Ground Zero refers to the World trade Center since the September 11 terroristic attacks killing nearly 3,000 people.
Nearly four million people visited the Tower of London poppies last year. Many of them probably took a selfie.
The Tower of London is a First World War memorial highlighting 888,246 ceramic red poppies. Each pot commemorates one soldier who perished in the war.
… Are war memorials, such as this one to those killed in the Battle of Iwo Jima, really the best places to pose with a cheesy grin?
Iwo Jima is the Japanese Volcano Islands, the setting of the Battle of Iwo Jima from February 1945 extending through March 1945 between the United States and Japan during WWII. It became famous because of the photograph “Raising the Flag on Iwo Jima.”
How do you tell people it is insensitive to take selfie in places like these? Museums housing so many priceless memoirs, artifacts and significant items and churches are the other places you must accord with respect and caution. Banning selfie may sound restrictive, but in places where it is prudent not to use selfie stick, there is no need to mince words.
That is what exactly what Smithsonian Institution, consisting of 19 museums and galleries, did. Read about it in Smithsonian Institution bans selfie sticks ‘to protect visitors and objects’ published in The Guardian.
“For the safety of our visitors and collections the Smithsonian prohibits the use of tripods or monopods in our museums and gardens. Effective today, 3 March, monopod selfie sticks are included in this policy,” the institution said in a statement.
This is a preventive measure to protect visitors and objects, especially during crowded conditions. We encourage museum visitors to take selfies and share their experiences – and leave the selfie sticks in their bags.
The announcement came after it was first banned in the Cooper-Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum, which was implemented before 2014 ended. The ban for selfie sticks was also adopted by the Metropolitan Museum of Art in February 2015.
Visitors can still take selfies but must ‘leave the sticks in their bags’ in line with similar policies at other museums and galleries
By the looks of it, it seems selfie is here to stay. It is impacting the consciousness of this generation more than you care to acknowledge. Just like the internet has developed the “netiquette,” maybe it is time people also start thinking what is proper and what is not insofar as selfie is concerned.
So, if you are traveling with a selfie stick intending to shoot hundreds of selfies, just before drawing it out and start brimming on your smartphone, camera or some other handheld gizmo, ask around: Is it alright to use the selfie stick? As a responsible traveler, learn about too about the places you are about the visit. Auschwitz, Chernobyl and Iwo Jima carry morbid memories, respect those… choose happy places as backdrop.