The selfie now has a social network dedicated to self-portraits, with Justin Bieber-backed “Shots of Me”. Before dismissing the app as yet another social network, however, look out for the positive twist.
VR-Zone previously reported that pop singer Justin Bieber has invested in an up-and-coming social network targeted at the youth demographic. The name itself, Shots of Me, may have been an indication of what the new app will be about. With the official launch of the service, it is now confirmed that Shots of Me will be a social network dedicated to selfies.
The selfie — or self-portraits often taken with smartphone cameras — has grown into a cultural phenomenon, especially among the youth. John Shahidi, CEO of RockLive, which developed Shots of Me, says the company already markets apps and games for the youth, and therefore sees the potential in this demographic. “We were creating these games and had a good, young demographic,” Shahidi shared with TechCrunch. “We giggled that we knew how to market to high school girls so let’s build something even bigger.”
Shahidi highlights that photo-sharing applications like Instagram would often be used for a wide variety of subjects, but mostly food and scenery. Given this, the new app has been dubbed as an “Instagram for selfies”.
An iOS-only release, Shots of Me works only via the iPhone’s front-facing camera, thereby ensuring that only self-taken portraits are shared on the network. Further, the creators are aware that their target market is a particularly sensitive demographic, and so the app does not offer a public commenting system. Youngsters, after all, may be negatively affected by hateful comments, and there have been cases wherein cyber-bullying incidents have resulted in suicide.
“People share photos because they felt so positive at that moment,” Shahidi explains. “Drama kills that moment.” Instead of public comments, Shots of Me lets users exchange private, direct messages between those who already follow each other. According to the CEO, this feature was actually what attracted Justin Bieber to invest into the app, wanting a platform where teenagers can simply exchange self-portraits without having to worry about online bullying.
As to the benefit of having a youth-oriented artist as one of the app’s investors, there is always the endorsement factor. Bieber has 47 million Twitter followers and 57 million Facebook fans. With the app currently focused on growth, these numbers might come in handy.
Shots of Me is available for download on the iTunes App Store.