As cultural phenomena go, the selfie is reaching saturation point. So it’s just as well that the dronie looks poised to take its place. A dronie is, simply put, a video you take of yourself using a drone; you hold the remote control, keep the drone fixed on your face, then make it fly further away, taking in more and more of the landscape around you. “Selfies are just too easy to manufacture now,” says journalist Nimrod Kamer, “and no one can really fail a selfie. Dronies are a lot harder to master.”
Remote controlled drones used to carry a hefty price tag, but that’s on its way down, and they are becoming more accessible to consumers. According to tech blogger iJustine, this will go a long way to democratise the filmmaking world, “helping to make the creation and distribution of your own movie easier and more affordable.”
Tourism New Zealand is making use of drones to give skiers a souvenir with a difference. Drones are flying around the ski slopes, capturing dronies and sending them straight to tourists’ smartphones. They are then encouraged to share their videos via Facebook, Twitter and Instagram using the hashtag #NZdronie.
“We are excited to be the first country to launch the new NZdronie service for consumers and hope it will add another dimension to the way people share their holiday memories,” says general manager Tony Saunders. “New Zealand’s scenery is unparalleled so we wanted to give visitors the opportunity to show their spectacular surroundings to friends via social media, blowing a traditional selfie out of the water. If a picture says a thousand words, imagine what a dronie can do.”
Still, it’s unclear how practical dronies will be once they hit the mainstream, especially if they take hold in the public’s consciousness to the extent of the selfie. As Kamer rather drily points out; “It’s going to be pretty cool when the rise of the dronies will start making drones collide in midair, as there’ll be so many wandering above Panda Express.”