Snap the World

Snap the World
Business Insider

Snapchat is one of the most popular social media platforms among the oh-so-coveted millennial audience. Its addition of lenses has only added to the appeal of the app (see: snapchat and the election). Now, the newly rebranded Snap Inc. is taking it to the next level with “world lenses”.

Previously, the camera would map your face, and then apply interactive lenses based on this information. You could become a dog, a deer, or a glamour queen. New lenses were added later on that allowed users to swap faces with a friend, or overlay a photo onto their face. However, the new “world lenses” go one step beyond the lenses we’ve come to love. Not only can it be applied to your face, but it overlays 3-D graphics onto the world around you. Now, you AND that cloud can have rainbows pour from your mouth!


The Guardian

Beyond being incredibly entertaining, these world lenses are an interesting development in the race for VR. From startups to big tech companies such as Facebook, experts seem to agree that virtual reality is the next Big Thing in the tech world.

By rebranding themselves as a camera company, Snap Inc. has allowed themselves to join the race. They’ve even applied for patents for software that would allow for ads and promotions to be displayed based on physical objects via a camera (such as their new camera sunglasses). If Snap Inc. is the first to efficiently monetize VR, Facebook might need to watch its back!


The YouTube Mini-Series

The YouTube Mini-Series

There is no denying that YouTube is a force. It is an incredible mix of the educational, personal, hilarious, and just plain stupid. Over the years, this popular social site has provided a unique outlet for creativity. One manifestation of this has been the YouTube mini-series.


The first “mini-series” I stumbled across was “The Lizzie Bennet Diaries”, a modern take on Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. The series was developed by Hank Green and Bernie Su, who decided to pluck Elizabeth Bennet from Austen’s England and re-introduce her as a 24 year-old grad student studying communications. What followed was an amazing saga of 102 vlog-style videos about the Jane, Lizzie, and Lydia Bennet, Bing Lee, and the infamous Darcy. This interpretation was so well done that it won a 2013 Primetime Emmy and launched the channel Pemberley Digital. Newer projects include “Emma Approved”, based off of Austen’s Emma, and “The March Family Letters”, a modern take on Little Women.

The success of these mini-series, and that of Shipwrecked’s “Edgar Allen Poe’s Murder Mystery Dinner Party”, show how versatile YouTube is as a creative outlet. Complex and interesting stories were created and developed through a series of ten minute videos with relatively low cost. They highlight what YouTube does best: share stories that warm our hearts and make us laugh.

Magic Meets Tech in “Fantastic Beasts” Marketing

Magic Meets Tech in “Fantastic Beasts” Marketing

November 18th, thousands of fans will flood movie theaters to immerse themselves in the beautiful world of J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter, a place many doubted they’d visit again. The newest film, “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them”, is based off of a text book that Harry, Hermione, and Ron are required to read in their first year.

It tells the story of Newt Scamander, a magizoologist who arrives in 1926 New York with a brief case full of magical creatures. Being an extension of the Harry Potter franchise is enough to drive people to theaters. However, the film has embraced some unique marketing with the help of Silicon Valley, according to a recent article.

Google, for example, is using the film to aid in the launch of its DayDream View VR headset. The controller becomes a wand, and the user is able to peek inside Newt Scamander’s bag, cast spells, and interact with a variety of magical creatures. Since the world of Harry Potter is so immersive, (see: the excellent Harry Potter World at Universal), VR is an exciting way to promote the film. Maybe they’ll create a Hogwarts VR next…please?img_6551

In addition, Google is adding locations from the film to Google Maps. Fans can search for locations from the movie, such as the Blind Pig, and peek inside. There will also be a 360 degree view of the city circa 1926 to add to the experience. Again, this feature plays off of the demand for immersion. What fan wouldn’t want the map to another world? Also, anyone with a Google Android Phone will be able to channel the magic; a simple “OK Google, Lumos” will turn on their flashlight. “Nox” turns it off again.

Twitter and Amazon are also in on the publicity game. Amazon is driving customers to a Fantastic Beasts merchandise page when they type certain spells into the search bar, and Twitter has launched twelve emojis to incorporate in the conversation.

As a huge fan of the Harry Potter Universe, and an advertising major, these kinds of promotions are thrilling. They play off of the strengths of both products: the VR and new Google Maps locations let you step into the beloved world Rowling created, and the phone feature turns any Google Android user into a Wizard. It is blurring the lines between fiction and reality just enough to make people crave the story and the products together. What more could you want from a campaign?

Ok, maybe actual magic; baby steps.


5 Costumes You’ll Probably See This Halloween

Halloween is almost upon us, which means that Party City looks like a herd of elephants has been released inside it. Whether you’re in kindergarten or college, choosing the perfect costume is one of the best parts of Halloween. Hours are devoted to browsing Pinterest for scary, relevant, sexy, and funny costumes. Though there will surely be hordes of princesses, witches, and cats wandering the streets this weekend, a few new personas will be added to the mix. Here are some costumes you will probably see a lot of this Halloween:


  1. Harley Quinn

With the recent release of Suicide Squad, Harley Quinn has been brought to the forefront of comic-themed costumes. Margot Robbie’s portrayal of the girl-gone-mad has probably led to a shortage in baseball bats, red and blue hair coloring, and booty shorts.



  1. Star Wars

With the release of The Force Awakens, and more movies yet to come, it’ll be hard to turn around without spotting a Star Wars character this Halloween. From new faces like Rey and Finn to old classics such as Han Solo, Leia, and Darth Vader, the galaxy far, far away will be well represented.



  1. Stranger Things

Netflix’s hit new show has taken the country by storm. Its spooky plotline and amazing actors will no doubt inspire countless costumes this year. Don’t be surprised if you see several Elevens with a box of Eggos under their arms, or even perfect renditions of the eerie Christmas lights on the wall.



  1. Snap Chat Filters

Who doesn’t love morphing people’s faces? No one. This costume is quick and easy to make, so there may be more dog filters than eye-liner cat whiskers at this year’s house parties.



  1. Trump and Hillary

Every election year, it is nearly impossible to escape the faces of would-be presidents on Halloween. With the extreme nature of this election, get ready for some interesting (if weird) interpretations of the nominees.

Do it for the Vine


This week, the Internet has been preparing for the loss of its favorite six-second video platform: Vine. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Tumblr seem to be holding a memorial service; it’s nearly impossible to navigate your feed without seeing Sail Cat or Thomas Sanders.

The news broke on Thursday in a blog post. According to, Vine’s team wasn’t informed of the decision until Thursday morning. Though the post didn’t explain the reasoning behind this decision, it is very likely that it was tied to struggles integrating with its holding company, Twitter.  screen-shot-2016-10-29-at-2-42-20-pm

Twitter itself is going through restructuring. It was recently announced that they plan to cut 9% of its employees after three major potential buyers decided against acquiring the platform.

The good news? It isn’t going away immediately. The content that made so many people laugh, and launched so many careers, will not be removed quite yet. The plan is to allow users to download their Vines before the app is discontinued.

Social Media platforms rise and die every day. It is the nature of the game. However, the unique aspects of Vine (6-second looping videos) make it hard to watch. So many funny, stupid, and adorable stories were shared in those six seconds. It is weird to think that we won’t hear that phrase, “Do it for the Vine”, ever again.

What Hamilton: The Musical Taught Me

What Hamilton: The Musical Taught Me

Lin Manuel Miranda’s smash-hit musical, Hamilton, has been in the limelight since its opening show. The story of founding father Alexander Hamilton has captured hearts with its hip-hop take on the American Revolution. I haven’t seen the show myself, but I could probably perform the entire thing if asked.

Yesterday, PBS released a documentary on the making of the show and the man himself, titled “Hamilton’s America”. The documentary was so widely watched that it was trending (number 1 and 8) on Twitter. As I watched Lin Manuel Miranda wrestle with bringing Hamilton back to life, I began to remember something amazing the show has taught me: history is not two-dimensional.

For years, I have learned about the accomplishments of the Founding Fathers. The great writings of Jefferson, brilliant leadership of Washington, and the quirky genius of Franklin are detailed in every American History textbook. However, years of passing down stories has made the men legends, and a shadow of their former selves. They had no flaws, no passions, not even a favorite food in my textbooks. I even found them to be dull at times.

What Miranda has done is to shake the dust away from these figures’ shoulders and present them as real, living people with flaws. Jefferson owned slaves, despite campaigning for equality. Hamilton could be impossible to work with. He also shines a light on Eliza and Angelica Hamilton, two women who played an incredible role in telling the story of the early United States, but whose personal stories are often left out.

All in all, Hamilton The Musical is a reminder that the people of history weren’t as different from us as we might think. Each one was as flawed as they were brilliant. Each had a personality, a style, that was completely their own. They were real, vibrant people that demand to be fully understood.

Brush Like an Egyptian

Brush Like an Egyptian

In an age of social media, even the most basic product brands have turned to Twitter to stay at the forefront of the consumer mind. Even toothpaste has morphed and evolved beyond the initial purpose of the product. Colgate, for example, has 4,352 tweets and 52.2K followers.

The brand posts about water conservation, dental hygiene among children, and more. Primarily, Colgate is trying to encourage people to choose their brand instead of a competitor. Though Colgate is focused on the future of their brand, their website pays homage to the history of its product.

According to Colgate’s website, the Egyptians are thought to have used a toothpaste-like substance around 5000BC. The Egyptian people also used twig-toothbrushes and toothpicks to keep their teeth strong. However, the mixture they used was very different than what we have today.

Some ingredients in ancient toothpaste included powdered ox hooves’ ashes, pumice, crushed bones, an oyster shells. Charcoal was added by the Romans to help whiten teeth. However, modern users would most likely prefer the Chinese’s recipe, which included herbal mints. Colgate itself began mass-producing toothpaste in jars in 1873.

In my opinion, the history of the product category and brand demonstrates how important it is for brands to be involved on social media. Despite being a product that has a very high demand, Colgate needs to stay in front of consumers wherever possible to be sure that they are the brand consumers choose. There’s no better place to do so than on social media!