The day has finally arrived, and the Justin Bieber app is here. It’s true, now you too can download Shots of Me, the all-selfies-all-the-time app of which Bieber serves as lead investor. There isn’t much to the app: No filters, no gaming mechanics, no reward system. It’s just a feed of selfies, with the simple accessories of private messaging and hashtags.
My gut instinct tells me to rip this thing apart, complete with a scathing critique of the generational pit of narcissism we’re continuing to fall into. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram – at least these apps put on a little pretense. We can pretend to not be entirely self-obsessed there; but with the new, twisted, strangely growing crew of selfie-only apps, we’re just throwing in the towel.
And of course, Shots of Me is simultaneously tainted and bolstered by Bieber, who’s a scummy, social pariah to some, and a beloved, talented artist to others. (And he likes to make this face in his selfies. A lot.)
Really, were he not “lead investor,” Shots of Me would’ve faded just as fast with as our week-long fascination with Selfie.im. (Already forgot? That’s OK, just get back to your Instagramming.)
But you can’t discount the Bieber factor, and you can’t judge an app by its screenshots: In the interest of Internet, here we go.
Shots of Me app is comprised of shots of you and people you follow. You login, create your own account or use your Twitter login, and are then prompted to scroll through the feed of faces (which, when I downloaded and did some browsing, were mostly of its creator, John Shahidi), and to add your own. You have an inbox where people can message you, and an arrow icon surfaces a banner that houses news (new friends, Likes, etc), a link to your profile, a function to find friends, and your settings.
Opening up the camera automatically uses your front-facing camera, so you’re selfie-ready. When you take and upload a selfie, it is seriously no frills: No filters, no crop, no rotate.
Really, the only significant problem with this app is that it is utterly redundant. If you want to use a selfie-loving app for Hot or Not-esque sprees, there’s Tinder. If you want to see touched up, beautiful (if deceiving) self-portraits, there’s Instagram. If you want to share weird, digitally-drawn-on selfies that disappear, there’s Snapchat, or even the new Selfie.im app. All of these have a thing, a hook that makes them unique. What does Shots of Me have?
Bieber. Shots of Me has Bieber – who, by all accounts, is a selfish, disrespectful, brothel-going teenager who’s already made far too much money (and spent a ludicrous amount on these types of pants). That’s its hook. Shots of Me feels like the worst culmination of Selfie Culture (which has become a real thing despite my many attempts to kill it and kill it fast): It’s attached itself to a young, petulant star, and its only focus is on your face. You can’t blame anyone developing these types of apps – give the people what they want!
Only maybe we shouldn’t give the people want they want because the people already know what they want and have figured out better ways to get what they want. We’re already so bogged down in the stuff that one more app – one that doesn’t add anything interesting or new to the conversation (besides Bieber!) – isn’t necessary.
And not to harp on the whole “we’re a generation of narcissists!” thing, but we truly, deeply are. There’s a line of thinking that the smartphone camera will have a similar effect on society as the mirror did; the mirror! Can you imagine how our psyches would have formed if we’d never found much value in looking at reflections of ourselves? If we didn’t do it every morning? We’re already too deep in, obviously, and same goes for selfies, but there is an opportunity for invention here. Make the selfie better! Make it different! You can’t make us less self-obsessed, but you can try and create something interesting out of that self-obsession.
Shots of Me does neither of those things. Instead, it just hinges itself to a rather upsetting young person and adds yet another drop in the bucket of a completely saturated market.