Sometimes social media dipsomania comes into harsh relief, as it did today when the technology wars manifested themselves as the ability to superimpose your face on a cat: aka, Snapchat’s new social drug “Cameos.” It’s terrifying.
As TechCrunch first reported, Snapchat has selectively released a beta version of a feature which allows users to scan their faces and insert them into a collection of 150 video clips hurtling toward the camera, like surfing, flinging money, hoovering up a mountain of pastries, and, per TechCrunch’s preview, a cat screaming “FEED ME.” (Snap was not immediately available to confirm their authenticity to Gizmodo, but these do seem to follow the maniacal logic that brought us pizza on a building.) The eyeball injections are so addicting that they make me envision a Black Mirror scenario of the last man on earth sending a Snap of his face on a cat to himself:
— Tom Basgil ???? (@TomBasgil) December 9, 2019
Vous avez Cameo sur snap ou je suis la seule? Je pleure de rire pic.twitter.com/G7E3ZKAilz
— Aca (•‿•) (@toddflanderrs) December 7, 2019
You can select a friend to add to a Cameo:
En test exclusivement en France pour le moment pic.twitter.com/bZ6IzOEZ0x
— Snapologie (@snapologie) December 8, 2019
TechCrunch reporter Josh Constine tweeted a demo:
Snapchat Cameos are the next wave of expedited visual communication. Instead of illustrations and avatars, they're real scenes starring the real you pic.twitter.com/AD94ljqxMn
— Josh Constine (@JoshConstine) December 9, 2019
Snapchat must keep rolling this shit out if it wants to get your attention, vying with new kids like TikTok and competitors that rip them off, as Apple did with Bitmoji, and Instagram with stories, filters, and stickers. It’s been noted that Snapchat is ripping off JibJab, and bears some resemblance to the deepfakes of Zao, but it doesn’t appear to be going for realism. Snapchat also needs to stay on its spectacular rebound after a turbulent year of plunging earnings and users, and it very publicly freaked out about that. You can swap genders! Age yourself! 3D spectacles: now in Gucci! Meanwhile it’s been quietly tidying up the messes, like reorganising its disruptive redesign. Last week the Information also reported some murmurings of a plan to sort out the Discover tab chaos, with a dedicated “news” section for journalistic Snapchat shows like NBC’s Stay Tuned.
The new one could satiate the same irresistible desire which captivated us with filters, except an even more frantic and aggressively cheerful bid to hook users who feed data to these apps because we can not resist the urge to put our faces on things. I’ve never felt more like an infant in my adult life. Or it’s just a fun feature. That’s always possible.
Snapchat tells TechCrunch they’ll be unrolling Cameos on December 18.