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Event Courtesy and Selfie-Sticks

What do Disneyworld, South Korea and the White House have in common? (Don’t worry- no corny punch-line coming!) These three places have all recently changed their rules regarding selfie sticks. So how do you deal with attendees using selfie sticks onsite? Here’s some advice from our event team:

When it comes to events, every attendee has a unique experience- that’s the way it should be. But what happens when someone’s experience is hindered by another attendee’s? As the trend of selfie sticks is on the rise, celebrities like Kim Kardashian and Ellen DeGeneres have been caught “selfie-ing” at highly-publicized events which brings us to our issue: should selfie sticks be allowed at events?

One of our event professionals says, “Absolutely not! Attendees are here to experience things first-hand, and when they aren’t able to get the full experience because someone else’s actions, they’re unsatisfied. This is the reason we have onsite photographers and vendors focused specifically on capturing attendees in action.”

Another event professional says that they should be allowed during some events. “The attendee is paying to be there and if part of their experience includes taking selfies then we have to allow it. At the end of the day if the attendee is happy, that means the event is successful.”

We, collectively as a team, have taken the stance of ‘every event and every part of an event is unique’. While selfie sticks would be appropriate during one part of an event, like an attendee party, they aren’t always the most courteous thing to use under other circumstances, like a keynote.  

Each event manager should evaluate a few things when considering making restrictions:

1. The audience- to see if selfie sticks are a popular item being brought onsite. If your audience signs an NDA before attending, or if it’s purely an educational conference, it’s less likely that any attendees would bring selfie sticks onsite.
2. The event venue/layout- to see if the use of selfie sticks would affect anyone else in the audience. If there’s stadium or lecture-hall rooms, selfie sticks might not hinder someone else’s view, but if your audience is all on one level in theatre seating, you might want to consider a large viewing screen to help alleviate these issues.
3. The availability of content- to ensure attendees that they will be able to use pictures or videos posted from the official event page or social media accounts. If there is professional-grade photos being taken of attendees, and videos of any content/presentations available to attendees, then there really isn’t a need for selfie sticks onsite.
4. Consequences- what happens if attendees disregard the rules? This is a tricky situation for event professionals and security. Do they lose their selfie stick, lose their invitation to next year’s event, or possibly get kicked out of the current session/event?

We’d like to hear what you think. Are you over the selfie-craze? As an attendee, what would you do if your experience was being interrupted by a selfie-stick user?