For many people, Justin Bieber is the pinnacle of life. For everyone else, he is the epitome of all that’s wrong with the modern world. Selfies fall into the same two categories. Now, the two have merged to form a frightening new social media application – Shots.
We’ve all seen them, we’ve all done it ourselves and it’s taking over the world of amateur photography. Along with shots of your dinner, people are increasingly turning the camera on themselves, and striking a pose.
Now, with the assistance of the aforementioned pop star, there is a social network built entirely around the craze, with Bieber one of Shots’ major investors.
Regardless of your views on Bieber, he is the social media king. With almost 54 million followers on Twitter and 73 million on Facebook, he has ensured Shots will spread like wildfire among the younger generation – and is plugging his new investment shamelessly on the other social media platforms.
But the new app isn’t just about money, it’s also working towards a greater cause, by discouraging bullying.
Aware of the platform social media produces for bullying, John Shahidi told TechCrunch that the idea behind Shots was to give teens a chance to express themselves without the fear of being burned.
It’s also a lot more interesting than “looking at coffee and salad”.
“People enjoy looking at humans. Not just yourself. People like looking at other people. It doesn’t ever really get old,” Shahidi said.
When users post selfies, there is no comments section available for derogative replies. You can ‘heart’ someone’s photo, much like Instagram, but you can’t trash them.
The app also only allows you to take photos in-app and with the front-facing camera, so you can’t upload images. It also limits fake profiles.
There’s also no follower-trackers, eliminating the incessant popularity contest that surrounds other forms of social media.
The hashtag function is still included though, as is the ability to post a comment with your own photo. You can’t search for hashtags though, which apparently cuts down the tendency of nude shots (Vine learned that the hard way).
People who break rules, either by posting nude shots or engaging in anti-social behaviour, are immediately banned, with their device IDs recorded so they can’t download the app again and sign up under a different name.
It seems someone has finally created a positive social media app, despite promoting the narcissistic hobby of selfies. Yet is it too good to be true? Probably.
Shots recently added a new feature giving users the ability to post a reply to someone’s selfie with a picture of their own. As comments are allowed on your own selfie, this creates an avenue for those bullies to do their work.
The pictures can also be shared on Instagram, Twitter and Tumblr, and people find friends by connecting through those sister applications. Once the photo is out there, it’s also fair game, and anyone can use it. But the privacy settings do allow a user to make their profile private, and you can also block people.
Shots is an admirable effort to erase cyber-bullying from social media, but it’s not perfect.
The main downside is that there is no end in sight for the dreaded selfie, or Justin Bieber. Duck faces and half-naked bodies are here to stay.