The Selfie Stick

This article was first published on The Telegraph website!

The Selfie Stick! All hail to the Selfie Stick! What a joy it was waking up this morning to find the papers brimming with stories about the brilliant inventions. ‘This year’s Christmas stocking essential’ said one, ‘The must-have gift’ chimed another. Yes, yes. And hear, hear! Welcome – finally – to the party.

I first saw the Selfie Stick while on holiday in Singapore – and knew instantly that I had to have it. I bought one within an hour, and since then have been using the stick non-stop. Perfecting, if you will, all the different types of selfies one can achieve with it.

There are two types of stick: one is an extendable pole (where you have to set your phone on a timer to take pictures) and the other is installed with Bluetooth (this connects your phone and camera with the stick and you can take pictures automatically). Though the first option is cheaper, the second option – which I bought – is better. Who wants to wait on a timer for a selfie?

Now rather a dab-hand with the device, here’s my guide to some of the snaps you could be shooting this Christmas, if Saint Nick is kind enough to put one in your stocking.

1) The ‘having a good time’ selfie

A more flattering (because it’s further away from your face) take on the classic ‘having a good time’ selfie. In this shot, make sure that the actual stick is out of frame. You want it to look like there is no aid; that this is a normal hand holding your phone ‘natural’ snap. Tilt the stick to a 75 degree angle, extend the metal rod to about 30 centimetres, then turn away from the camera. When you’re ready, start laughing – swish back to face camera and click.

2) The ‘group’ selfie

One the whole family can enjoy! For this shot you can have the stick in or out of frame, but extend it to its full length (about a metre). Then tilt up, steady the hand and shoot! It’s best in this selfie situation to alert the group – or you’ll, as in this snap, get a few at the back out of focus.

3) The ‘dining’ selfie

At last, a way to get a real memento of the dining experience. You, your neighbour and an aerial view of exactly what you’re eating. Perfection. For this shot, the stick will have to be in frame. This actually works quite well as the camera focuses more on the stick and therefore casts a softer – and more flattering – light on you. Hold the selfie stick almost directly above you, make sure that you’re all in frame, take your elbows off the table – god forbid they should be there – and voila!

Bon appétit!

4) The ‘launch from behind’ selfie

​This is a fun little selfie number. You hold the stick from above, rather like a fishing rod, and cast it into the selected crowd. To achieve this shot, you must have a firm grip on the stick, so that it a) doesn’t wobble and b) doesn’t whack someone over the head.

If pulled off properly, however, it’s one of the best shots out there. Just look how happy they all are!

5) The ‘spin’ selfie

​The ‘spin’ selfie is a tricky number to master, but when you do, it’ll be worth the wait. We’re getting to a professional selfie stick level with this shot. Don’t feel like you need to launch in with a shot like this – build up gradually. Extend the stick to three quarters of its length, make sure the plastic holder has a secure grip on your phone and then start to spin. Start slow, then move faster – but snap away continuously through the rotations. You should end up with you in focus and a beautifully blurred background.

6) The ‘from below’ selfie

​A devious little number, which the paparazzi will probably love, the ‘from below’ selfie should only be used when with a circle of very good friends – who are all wearing trousers. It’s an interesting angle and, if you commit to it, can have some flattering and fun results. But, to reiterate, this should not be used outside of the confines of your home!

So there you have it! Should a selfie stick be in your stocking, you’re now prepared. Enjoy it and remember – always respect your selfie!

Look who’s back, back again…

So returning to these online pages didn’t really happen, did it? Well, New Year, new attempt…

Here’s a digest of some of the bits I’ve been writing over the last few months. I was the nominated misery guts over the festive season – so prepare for some negativity.

Why I hate, are you the …from hell?, the curse of the…? They are touch in cheek, of course. Not that the commentators ever take that onboard. But hey, what’s journalism without trolls? The two go hand in hand…

The glory days of Fleet Street, pure print and no criticism. Well, that was a long, long time ago…

Anyway, I’ll post up some of the stories now…photo

Office bugbears: what annoys you at work?

Hmmmmn. An interesting one this morning. Being asked to write about what annoys you about work and your colleagues. Rather a poisoned chalice…

An article to land you in hot water if ever there was one. But work is work. If you’re commissioned to write something, then you have to write it.

So, dear reader, here it is. What one finds annoying at work: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/comment/10824744/Office-bugbears-what-irritates-you-at-work.html

 

The #nomakeupselfie

Social media nominations have exploded in 2014. January was dogged by #NEKnominate; the ridiculous pint-guzzling game (‘neck’ a drink and ‘nominate’ a friend to do the same) which, within two weeks, plagued all public forums and quickly escalated from drinking beer to ingesting lethal concoctions of spirits –claiming the lives of five.

In February, a group of South Africans replaced the dangerous trend with the #RAKnomination; where you showed a stranger a ‘random act of kindness’.  From baking cookies for the elderly to paying for someone’s supermarket shop, RAKS soon peppered Twitter feeds and Facebook threads. But they too, as of last week, have been replaced.

The end of March has brought with it a new social media sensation – the #nomakeupselfie (a picture of oneself wearing no make-up and then texting BEAT to 70007 to donate £3 to Cancer Research UK – then nominating someone else to do the same). ‘Finally using a social media trend to make a real difference’, I thought as my newsfeed brimmed with bare faces. Good on them. Well done.

But then I was nominated.

Now, a quick snap sans make-up sounds easy enough. Scrub off the slap and take the selfie. Simple. I thought the same… until I removed my face paint, looked in the mirror and then back at the picture of the girl who had nominated me. She had no make-up on and looked absolutely stunning. Yes, yes, I know, the whole point is to raise money for people suffering from a hideous and cruel disease, it’s not about looking good. But, as I scrolled through my Facebook feed, I realised it wasn’t just her that looked like they’d walked off the catwalk. These weren’t #nomakeupselfie [s], these were #seehowgoodilookwithoutanymakeuponselfies.

Bright-eyed, long-lashed, flawlessly-skinned – was this really what my friendship group look liked naturally? I took my first selfie, yuck. Another, cripes. One more, my goodness it was grim. Before I knew it, I had racked up 23. Not one of which would I have shown a friend, let alone shared on a public  forum.  Was I really so much rougher than my peers?

I thought about it long and hard…but then started to notice some similarities between these glossy pics of my friends. Trends within the trend. An hour and lots of research later, I’d created the perfect guide. So if you’re, like I was, scared of the #nomakeupselfie – do not fear! With these tricks, you’ll be sorted:

Photo: Thanks for the nomination bex and Jewers! Tilly Coles, Camilla McConnell, Anna Webster and Olivia Crane - you have 24 hours :)

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/women/10721257/Ten-rules-for-the-perfect-nomakeupselfie.html

 

 

Secretly Starving – the dark world of anorexia blogging

Well hello there.

It has been a while, a long old while – but I finally have an urgent and incredible post to bounce back with.

An article crafted by one of my colleagues here at the Telegraph. Not just any article – a 4,000 word stormer on the underbelly of the blogosphere. Quite literally – Hunger Games.

This is investigative journalism at its best: shocking, factual and thought-provoking. I’m not going to harp on about it too much…read it for yourself. You won’t regret it.

I hope that one day I can write something half as good as this:

http://s.telegraph.co.uk/graphics/projects/inside-the-world-of-anorexia-blogging/

And for the safety and awareness of fellow bloggers, or those who you think could be vulnerable to the destructive clutches of the virtual world – please share (if not the blog, then the link).

Trolling

“The rule you must follow,” my colleague said vehemently, “is never to read below the line.”

She was referring to that little space between the end of your article and the comment box. That line where, if you keep above, you are blissfully ignorant of what lurks below. But alas, I’ve always been curious. A ‘don’t touch the hot plate – and I touch it’ kind of girl. So I didn’t listen to the wise words and my gaze dropped below the line…the dreaded line, the vile pit of evilness, the hurtful chasm of crassness…

It’s an occupational hazard, trolling. Just like here in the blogosphere, in the newspaper world the veil of anonymity brings out the worst of humanity. Well the online newspaper world, oh to work in the bygone era of paper, where ink and tree in harmony be.

Anyway, here is the article in question…written about this new breed of phone etiquette. Girlfriends when they are WITH their boyfriends by the phone (not busy) and they get the boyfriend to pick up. Not when the boyfriend is doing a favour, taking a message. This seems to be most of the trolls misconception.

So I pass you over to the article. Feast your eyes on the mean words of strangers…no filter.

 

Peacocking much? When did boyfriends picking up their girlfriends’ phones become OK?

A new trend of women letting their boyfriends pick up their phone to their friends has left Alice Audley far from entertained. Is she the only one?

When did the phenomenon of relationship peacocking become the norm?

When did the phenomenon of relationship peacocking become the norm?

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/women/womens-life/10523240/Peacocking-much-When-did-boyfriends-picking-up-their-girlfriends-phones-become-OK.html