MANILA — The now-ubiquitous selfie stick has its fair share of haters — most recently South Korea, where certain monopod retailers are reportedly being threatened with jail time - but its popularity, especially on this selfie-obssessed side of the world, has yet to wane.
According to Google Trends, online queries for ‘selfie stick,’ ‘monopod,’ and other related terms started to pick up in 2014, mostly in Southeast Asian countries.
Indonesians, Malaysians and Filipinos currently lead other Asian neighbors in terms of online interests on selfie sticks. Google Trends shows that it was late 2013 that the obsession on selfie sticks first started in Jakarta, Indonesia, roughly seven times the interest in the US. The contagious obsession for selfie sticks soon spread to Malaysia between January-March 2014, double the search interests of Indonesians.
The Philippines, declared the selfie capital of the world by Time Magazine, is also understandably the selfie stick capital of the world. Between March and June 2014, the Philippines overtook Malaysia in the number of online queries for selfie stick with double the search interest of Malaysia.
The rise in interest in selfie sticks is an offshoot of the selfie craze that swept the world in 2012. An online study conducted by Google on the history of people’s interest on the term ‘selfie’ revealed that the journey of ‘selfie’ to online stardom only gained traction in 2012 beginning in Asia, contrary to claims that it first popularized in the US. The Japanese term for selfie in 2012 was more than 50 times more searched than US’ ‘selfie.’ The Taiwanese, Korean and Chinese equivalents were also far more searched than ‘selfie.’
‘Selfie stick’ stretches north
The popularity of selfie sticks is now stretching out farther to the northern part of Asia. In August this year, online searches on ‘selfie stick’ peaked among selfie-takers in Japan and South Korea, with Korea showing the bigger spike – despite the outlawing of certain selfie sticks.
Dubai is also increasingly overtaking Indonesia and Philippines as ‘selfie stick’ search capitals, placing second after Singapore that made high interests on the modern arm extenders.
“Almost everything now seems to find meaning in the four corners of digital photography. The figures we gathered on selfie sticks provide a portrait on how the act of capturing ourselves visually as a way to communicate is continuously evolving,” said Google Philippines head of communications Gail Tan.
“From the early cameras to smartphones and to photography enabling tools like tripods and now selfie sticks, people continuously find ways to better represent themselves in a community that has evolved into digital natives,” she said.