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Shots of Me — the selfie-sharing app and social network created by RockLive, aimed at teenagers, and partially funded by Justin Bieber — is now available on iOS devices. The app displays a full-screen scrolling list of self-taken pictures, creating a mildly unsettling wall of faces. Some are smiling, some are gurning, some are — in 2013, would you believe — still duckfacing. Menu options let users find people to follow, view their own profile, send messages to other users, and check their own follower count.
All of Shots of Me's selfies are taken with two stipulations: firstly, the image must be captured in-app, not taken with an iOS device's camera and imported in, and secondly, only the front camera can be used. The result is a wall of lower-quality images than found on competitors such as Instagram, but in an interview with TechCrunch, RockLive's CEO John Shahidi suggested the content of selfies was intrinsically more interesting than "looking at coffee or salad," making up for the dip in fine detail.
Only the front camera can be used, and selfies must be taken in-app
Comments are also restricted: there's no way to publicly state your thoughts on another person's selfie. John Shahidi said that major investor Justin Bieber was particularly attracted to a social network without comments, seeing it as a solution to the problem of cyberbullying. Young people who put up a picture of their own face won't have to deal with a cavalcade of personal insults: Shots of Me instead allows users who follow each other to communicate in direct messages, while a sense of community is fostered by an Instagram-esque "heart" icon that signifies approval from other people.
RockLive is openly pitching the app at exactly those teenagers for whom cyberbullying is a serious concern after success making games for the audience. John Shahidi told TechCrunch that he and his team realized they "knew how to market to high school girls" and decided to "build something even bigger." Bieber's visible support for the app is a vast bonus, both in leading the $1.1 million investment in Shots of Me, and in the user-base he can bring to the network.
Shots of Me has no comment system to restrict cyberbullying
TechCrunch reports that if Bieber brings a tiny proportion of his 47 million Twitter followers and 57 million Facebook fans to Shots of Me, the new app will eclipse the somewhat similar Frontback. Frontback also uses the front camera on an iOS device for self-photographing purposes, pairing it with the rear camera to create diptych images. Perhaps more of a threat is the mysterious Selfie, a photo-sharing service that received more than half a million dollars in funding earlier this year. Selfie's mission looks to be markedly similar to Shots of Me's, but for now it exists only as an HTML5 holding page.
Shots of Me is free, and currently only available on iOS. Strangely, for a network focused on teenagers, the first faces early adopters will see are the bearded, tired ones of decidedly un-teenage RockLive founders John and Sam Shahidi, taken as they updated their app on launch day. Bieber, at the time of writing, has yet to post a selfie on the service.