I bought a selfie stick at Machu Picchu

Commentary: This is not a story about a photo-bombing Peruvian llama. This is about one man and his selfie stick.

Daniel Van Boom Senior Writer
Daniel Van Boom is an award-winning Senior Writer based in Sydney, Australia. Daniel Van Boom covers cryptocurrency, NFTs, culture and global issues. When not writing, Daniel Van Boom practices Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, reads as much as he can, and speaks about himself in the third person.
Expertise Cryptocurrency, Culture, International News
Daniel Van Boom
3 min read

Earlier this month I went on a trip to South America. It fundamentally changed my understanding of the universe.

No, I didn't take Ayahuasca and go on a vision quest in the Peruvian deserts. I did something far less predictable: I bought a selfie stick.

Was the woman who sold me this an angel sent to me by God? Perhaps she was just a merchant hocking selfie sticks for $3. I like to think she was both.

OK, the preceding three lines make this all sound like a joke, but I'm absolutely not kidding. Selfie sticks are great.

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The llamas of Machu Pichu approve. Side bar: The llamas of Machu Pichu are dope.

I confess, I bought it for a laugh. "Hey, look at this absurd tourist thing I'm doing," I smugly thought to myself. Then I attached my iPhone to the selfie stick -- an act of bravery, given the stick's spurious quality -- and lengthened it out as far as it could go. From that second, I was hooked.

I was on the cusp of greatness. This is the future of photography, and I'm only three years late. That's pretty good for me.

Yes, the selfie stick was only invented in 2014, even though in my head they've been a thing for closer to a decade. It speaks to the magic of the selfie stick, retconning its way into our subconscious.

Before the end of the year though, ungrateful philistines were already condemning the selfie stick as a modern curse. Selfie-takers are more narcissistic, according to (among others) Ohio State University, and the argument goes that selfie-sticks make that worse.

The funny thing is, selfie takers find other people's selfies irritating and narcissistic, says a study out of the University of Toronto, but that doesn't impact their love of their own selfies. The funnier thing is, I totally hate selfies and immediately fell in love with the ones I took. Look! Here's another one! I can do this all day:

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The Van Booms abroad.

Again, I say that in jest (somewhat), but I was legitimately excited by using a selfie stick, and was not shy in relaying that to friends, who definitely exist, when they asked about my holiday.

As vain as the selfie-stick concept is, it's all in the hips use. Using a selfie stick to take photos of yourself in your bedroom? Yeah, that's something for a crazy person. But the joy of the selfie stick is that it allows you to get so much more into a picture: Llamas, for instance, and Machu Picchu. Even seemingly less important things, like family and friends.

Through this, I found everyone I talked to who hates selfie sticks has never used a selfie stick. I am not the first selfie-stick convert. I've heard some variation of, "I thought they were lame, but then..." multiple times in the last week.

Unless one of my bosses have a horrible lapse in judgment, this is the closest thing I'll ever get to a personal advice column.

And my personal advice is this: Buy a selfie stick. Try it, just once. It won't make you hate other people's selfies less, but I bet you'll crack a smile.