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Selfie app Shots grows to 1M users with help of teenage girls

Silly though it may sound, youngsters are gravitating to this 5-month-old iPhone app to share their cell phone self-portraits.


What sounded like a gimmick just five months ago is fast becoming a guilty pleasure for hundreds of thousands of young girls around the world.

Shots, which launched on iPhone in November as an app for simply sharing selfies, said Wednesday that it has signed up more than 1 million users, 75 percent of whom are females under the age of 24.

On the whole, roughly 75 percent of the application's users are active on a monthly basis, with average time spent in the app totaling 20.53 minutes per person, the company said. Each account also uploads, on average, 2.4 photos per day.

The news of Shots' promising growth coincides with the release of a version of the application that introduces search, a reply feature for engaging in selfie-based conversation threads, and throws in support for Portuguese and Spanish languages for its audience in Brazil and Mexico. Sixty percent of Shots members are in English-speaking countries.

Because Shots audience consists primarily of young females, co-founder and CEO John Shahidi told CNET, he hopes the app, which forgos comments and vanity metrics in favor of establishing a more uplifting community, will be the first social network to teach impressionable youngsters to share in positive ways.

shots reply shot
A reply shot includes a thumbnail of the original selfie. Shots

Even the new reply feature, which goes by the name "Reply Shot," is structured to filter out negativity. All members can reply to the selfies they find in their stream with a shot of their own, but the original poster will be alerted to the reply only if the photo commenter is a person they follow on the application. The point, said Shahidi, is to limit the anxiety young people feel after they post something publicly.

While Shots the app promotes positivity, the company behind it has received its fair share of derision from industry watchers, especially when news spread of Justin Bieber's involvement. Bieber happens to be just one in a cadre of celebrity investors who have handed over $2.7 million in cash to the young company, but his involvement seemed like a sign that social networking had jumped the shark.

At least Shots seems to have trendiness, and teenage girls, on its side. The selfie-sharing fad predates Shots, of course -- thank you, MySpace. The now defunct Web site DailyBooth, which closed its doors at the end of 2012, also gave young people a special outlet for sharing their desktop-captured candids. Now, as smartphone ownership among teens and even tweens becomes a given, selfies, and the apps that support them, are more popular than ever. Instagram and Snapchat are selfie central these days, and even the Oxford English Dictionary recognized the term's significance by honoring it as the official word of 2013.

So, perhaps, Shots can use its initial popularity to elevate the self-portrait format in some fashion. Positivity is a start, but profit, of which there is none to speak of now, would turn even more heads.