The Disrupter: Culver City-based Shots App Rebrands the Selfie

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We’re not going to say it’s the “the next Facebook” because that disrupter card has been played on one to many a’ quickly failing start ups— but it is safe to say Shots isn’t aiming to be “liked” by Mark Zuckerberg.

These previous challengers have been more so mimickers, but Shot, a Culver-City based Social Network, is truly changing up the ingredients and aims to have a social anxiety and bullying free network.

Such lofty goals must come with huge underlying changes at deep understanding of computer science is needed for, right? Wrong. What makes Shots so different is easy: There’s not “status” from users’ updates, so to speak.

Co-founders John & Sam Shahidi realized back in 2012 that a lot of social networking brought with it an unintentional (and unfortunate) byproduct: a ton of good, old-fashioned social anxiety. Follower counts on display, quantified comments and likes…the Shahidis saw these things as superfluous to the real goal of online social networking, which should simply be the sharing of thoughts, moments, and memories. As such, John & Sam sought to create a network that left absolutely no room for social anxiety of any kind, let alone bullying.

Shots might very well be one of the only social networks that explicitly discourages two-way conversation. Users share their moments and memories in the form of either a photo or a three-second video…and that’s it. There are no comments. Likes do not exist. Direct messaging has been eschewed, and follower counts are absolutely not displayed. If there’s a way to quantifiably “rate” one user’s content or profile over another’s, Shots removed it from the application completely. The result is what some have called the first ever anti-bullying social network.

The new social network launched in 2013 after two successful rounds of funding picked up investments from some high-profile sources like Justin Bieber and Floyd Mayweather (the latter even going so far as to use the network to exclusively announce his headline-making fight with Manny Pacquiao earlier this year). Shots boasts an impressively-growing user base whose number tripled in as many months towards the end of 2014.

The future of Shots could go absolutely anywhere. The app’s co-founders are clearly intent on retaining the “anti-bullying” functionality that makes Shots as unique as it is, but are also unafraid of adding new features to broaden the options users have for communication. Recent updates have included picture replies – as opposed to text-based comments – and seconds-long video functionality, and future add-ons will likely continue down the same path. Whatever the case may be, Shots has momentum.

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