UAE social media fans snapping up selfie sticks to photograph their best side

The selfie stick is remarkably simple but it is making all the difference when it comes to capturing selfies, and it is selling like hotcakes.
Selfie sticks are becoming increasingly popular in the UAE. Christopher Pike / The National
Selfie sticks are becoming increasingly popular in the UAE. Christopher Pike / The National

ABU DHABI // There is no more coveted prize in the fast-paced, image-driven world of social media than the perfect “selfie”.

Users spend countless hours trying to find the best lighting, backdrop, facial expression and, of course, filter, for their self-snapped photographs.

But what happens when you’ve exhausted every angle and still can’t get it quite right? If only your arm was just that bit longer.

What you need is a selfie stick. The contraption is remarkably simple, but makes all the difference when it comes to selfies. Unsurprisingly, they are selling like hot cakes.

The typical selfie stick is a telescopic pole with a housing on the end that clutches your smartphone or camera and lets you take snaps of yourself from a distance, either via timer or Bluetooth.

You don’t need to look far in Abu Dhabi to find stores selling them.

“We have only had them in store for a month, but we just sold 30 in the last three days,” said Peejay Eusebio, team leader at Al Gadgets Electronics in Al Wahda Mall.

He admitted that at first the contraptions did not seem to make a lot of sense to him.

“If you see someone using a selfie stick, the first thing you think is ‘this guy is crazy’,” he said. “But you would be amazed what a difference it makes. It is fun, I think that’s it. People can take pictures and upload them to social media straight from their devices. It is great for taking group pictures.”

Al Gadgets sells a basic model “Monopod” that costs Dh110. If you want more control when you take the picture, instead of relying on a timer, you also need a Bluetooth controller that will set you back an additional Dh130.

Virgin Megastore, also in Al Wahda Mall, has had a range of selfie sticks on sale for about a month.

“They have been doing really well. They are one of our best-sellers at the moment,” said store manager Mohammed Hasan.

“A lot of customers are coming to get these. It is mostly women – maybe 95 per cent are female – and I’d say maybe between the ages of 15 and 25, sometimes older.

“People have been taking selfies for a while now, but it’s hard to get a good picture. The stick is simple to use. It is very practical, but some people are self-conscious and would be embarrassed to use it. I find they are great to use in any unstable environment, like underwater photography or when you are out sailing. You wouldn’t risk dropping your phone or camera, so you use the stick.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if these get more popular, and maybe they’ll even make a bendy one, that would be good,” he said.

The models Virgin sells are made by Looq. They cost Dh289 for the iPhone version and Dh249 for Android, and feature a built-in control on the handle to take snaps.

“I think self-portraits are something that has been happening forever, but now it is a lot more flippant and frivolous,” said Mohamed Somji, director at Gulf Photo Plus in Dubai.

“But if people enjoy expressing themselves or making duck faces then let them do it, I guess.

“It is something that has become a phenomenon recently with the likes of the Oscars selfie. I think it is making us more narcissistic as we pine for likes and shares of our pictures. I don’t know what it says about us, but it is interesting.

“I was recently in Asia and there were a lot of people using them. I had to take a second look, I was just flabbergasted that people would take these out in public.”

Despite his low opinion of the poles, Mr Somji admitted he has had so many requests for them from customers that he was looking for a supplier for his shop.

ksinclair@thenational.ae

Published: May 21, 2014 04:00 AM

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