Sometimes I wonder how many products were developed for the sole purpose of taking better selfies. Did Vine add front-facing camera support just because Jack Dorsey wanted to take six-second video selfies? Did Instagram finally add video support so people could up the ante by taking 15-second video selfies? Was Snapchat really created so people could take nude selfies without worrying about ‘em making their way around the Web? Those are the questions that haunt my lamest nightmares.
None of those products were developed solely for selfies, of course. Rather, they were developed as part of a cultural shift towards using images as a communications tool. It’s not their fault we’ve taken those tools and used ‘em to capture and immortalize our own faces.
Shuttr, on the other hand, is happy to cater towards our narcissistic tendencies. The device, which serves as a remote shutter for the iPhone and select Android smartphones, was built specifically because its creator, Kevin Leung, wanted to take better selfies with his daughter.
Leung sold his apartment and quit his job to develop the prototype for Shuttr. He then turned to Kickstarter seeking the $10,000 he would need to begin production and make Shuttr a commercial product. Now, with 17 days left to go on the project, Leung has raised over $50,000 from thousands of backers who effectively pre-ordered a unit for $25 or $29 a pop. And that’s after the project raised over $23,000 through Indiegogo in June.
People really, really want to take better selfies, it seems.
And why wouldn’t they? Selfies have been a near-constant presence in social media since Myspace users perfected the form a couple years ago. They’ve made their way to baseball fields and outer space, as the Guardian noted in a recent article dubbing the form a “global phenomenon.”
Instagram, Vine, Snapchat, and other products and services became vehicles for selfies by accident. (Unless Jack Dorsey really did want to take those six-second video selfies so badly that he persuaded Twitter’s board to purchase Vine and update the app, which seems a bit doubtful.) Shuttr, on the other hand, owes its very existence to the form and a father’s desire to take better pictures of himself and his daughter.