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.” They 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:
You can select a friend to add to a Cameo:
TechCrunch reporter Josh Constine tweeted a demo:
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 reorganizing 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.
Snap tells Gizmodo that they will be unrolling Cameos on December 18th.
This post has been updated to include confirmation from Snap.