Sketchfab, the company and site with the largest collection of 3D models, is launching a new virtual reality app that’s trying to be what YouTube is for videos. Noting itself as “the place to be for 3D,” Sketchfab is a platform for people to publish. Like, YouTube, the app is free and encourage users to post their own creations. People can view various verticals, such as games, brands, education, cultural heritage, and architecture. If this takes off, it can help popularize virtual reality and bring it to the general public.
This past weekend, the internet had its panties in a bunch when it was realized that Snapchat’s Faceswap from photo roll went down. When a social media platform goes down, or when there’s a glitch, it doesn’t take long for people *cough, millennials, cough* to take to another social media platform to complain about it. When sheer panic erupts over possible social media withdrawal, does it make anyone else look at the reaction and think, “Really?”
In a day and age where we rely on social media for so much like staying in touch with friends, news, sports, and politics, it’s easy to forget there are other ways of communication, news consumption and how to keep busy. Instead, hashtags like #facebookdown begin trending, Buzzfeed posts an article about it, and tweets such as these crowd your newsfeed:
While it’s tempting to want to participate in the complaining-spree, especially when you’re pretty witty, why not take advantage of the downtime, and find something else to keep you entertained? It’s been studied that stepping away from social media is good for your health.
There have even been several studies published within the past few years linking social media to depression and obesity.
A recent Forbes article outlines a study from the University of Pittsburgh in which it is found that those who spend an average of over an hour on social media a day and on various accounts 30 times a week have 2.7 times the likelihood of depression than those who are less connected to social media. The study’s theory as to why heavy social media consumption can lead to depression is the excessive exposure to peers on social media that depict their lives in a way that can cause envy of others. You know, those humble-braggers that are lurking in your newsfeed.
High usage of social media isn’t just linked to poor mental health, but physical health. Of course there’s the obvious - sitting in front of a computer, or phone, all day, which limits mobility, but there are other surprising reasons as to how social media can attribute to poor health. For example: You posted a new profile pic, and it got over one hundred likes! Congrats, sexy, that momentary high can boost your confidence so much so that you’ll let other things slide, like three pieces of cake right into your mouth! Additionally, perusing your social media feed is a form of “vegging out” so-to-speak, and in doing so, you’re more likely to eat an entire bag of chips without realizing it.
Next time a social media platform is down, I challenge you to not dwell on it - take a walk, or even make a phone call! You may fall asleep with a smile on your face for the first time in a long time and without that pesky heartburn.
Fresh Air TV critic David Bianculli writes:
“James Corden’s drive-along 15-minute trip with Adele is the most-viewed late-night TV clip in social media history — more than 102 million views and counting — and its appeal is totally understandable. The moment Adele gets in the passenger seat of his car, Corden compliments her on her hair, which starts a very casual conversation. Then, as he starts playing an Adele song on his car radio and she starts singing along, he slides in some pitch-perfect harmony — and she shoots a glance in his direction that basically says, “Who IS this guy?” Indeed.
You can’t watch that clip and not smile.”
It’s clear that the late night shows and hosts - such as Jimmy Fallon, James Corden, John Oliver, Samantha Bee and Jimmy Kimmel - have been thriving on social media. By having a social team that disseminates fun gifs and clips from special segments of the show, like The Tonight Show’s Pup Quiz or The Late Late Show’s Carpool Karaoke, people don’t need to tune in at night, but can instead catch up on bite-sized pieces in the morning. People like to share the funny things celebrities do as guests on these shows the following day, whether it’s a lip sync battle or reading mean tweets, on their Facebook pages or office email chain (if you have a cool team like us). Even if it’s not flat out comedy, but a powerful societal or political speech, like John Oliver’s Make Donald Drumpf Again segment, there is a strong element of social sharing and consequently, additional views. Many of these shows and hosts have more followers on their social channels than actual real-time viewers.
It was just leaked that Twitter may stop counting links and photos in its character count. Currently, links take up 23 out of 140 characters, with over 16 percent of the tweet dedicated to a link - aka very precious space.
This change may come into effect in the next two weeks. The past few months Twitter has been rolling out new features and testing out its flexibility due to the pressures of investors and the overall social media growth competition. As today’s news evoked a positive response, in the past, many of the changes have not. When it was announced that Twitter may up its character count to 10,000 people took to Twitter with the hashtag #RIPTwitter. Users made it clear that its now signature character-count is something that should remain. Despite the outrage, there is definitely room for change and growth and this newest update allows for it.
Now we don’t have to sacrifice a clever tweet to include an awesome gif.
It’s been a while since Facebook has made a minor change to their user experience that has nearly broken the Internet, so their friends at Instagram decided to do the honors this week, rolling out a new interface AND logo. At the same time!
Instagram’s new interface strips away the colors and heavy borders we once knew and loved, and created a new experience that’s cleaner, brighter, and allows photos and videos to really be at the center of the platform.
Won’t somebody PLEASE think of the children? (Image via TechCrunch)
With that, the platform also debuted a new logo for the app and other properties including Layout, Hyperlapse, and Boomerang. Now forgotten is the homage to the Polaroid camera, and we’re now greeted with a more Apple-friendly rich color design.
With change comes resistance. Many Instagram users (myself included) were first upset with the change, wondering why Instagram even needed a new logo or if a new interface was really necessary. The nerve! Even though everyone will eventually accept the change and resume living their lives, disruption is usually met with fear, and then embraced. Let’s look at the positive side of things.
Instagram’s new interface is now truly optimized for what consumers come for: the visuals. As photos and shortform video remain the top content form, Instagram’s simplified user experience no longer competes with photos and videos, allowing the content to stand out. Let those filters shine!
Although it’s fun to grumble at change and join the hate bandwagon, this one may be for the best. With a more minimalist approach, will brands take this as a sign to put even more emphasis on their Instagram content and push themselves to put out high quality photos and videos? Only time will tell, but in the meantime, we’ll be deciding between Valencia and Mayfair.
Earlier this week, former Facebook employees came out and said that they were instructed to regularly suppress conservative news in its trending section - which is especially concerning during election year. According to Gizmodo, the Facebook “news curators” were told to artificially insert selected stories into the trending news module, even if they weren’t popular enough or not trending. This came as a shock to the general public. It was believed to many that Facebook was a neutral source of what’s actually trending online based off an algorithm, not a company’s institutional views. Facebook has become just like every other news source, no longer our social media source of friend-driven news.
In response to this, the GOP-led Senate committee alerted Facebook, letting them know they are opening an inquiry into this. Facebook also is “investigating” this claim and has released this statement.
Remember Kendall Jenner’s famous hair-as-hearts post from last year?
It was the most liked photo of 2015 and has been reigning over other Instagram photos, that is until now. Last month, Justin Bieber posted a #TBT of him and ex-girlfriend, pop singer Selena Gomez, kissing. It officially surpassed Kendall’s photo this week, with currently 3.6 million likes.
It’s no surprise the photo blew up. Fans ship their relationship hard and are constantly looking for clues of the two singers rekindling their relationship. Bieber frequently posts about Gomez, knowing the topic gets his fans talking. Both celebrities have a large IG following (Selena earning the “most-followed” person title on Instagram earlier this year) of dedicated fans that helped make this the most popular post.
We wonder how long this photo will reign as “most-liked” and who next will take the crown.
Before social media and the online world as we know it, feminist issues and women’s rights weren’t easily discussed, shared, or championed. Prior to the age of digital media, many women were afraid to speak their minds about these difficult topics, especially in regards to sexual assault or domestic violence, and it took decades for feminist issues to reach the masses and secure support. Thanks to the World Wide Web, however, we now have a platform for positivity and awareness, subsequently changing how people discuss women’s issues.
While in many cases the Internet and social media can be a breeding ground for hate and harsh words (i.e. trolling), it has also become a forum for advocacy, awareness, and community building. This has been overwhelmingly apparent when it comes to this particular topic in the past few years and it seems the hashtag is its number one ally. Hashtag advocacy campaigns have tackled the difficult and challenging issues such as domestic violence, equal pay in the workplace, abortion, sexual harassment and more, providing women a voice to stand up for themselves and others.
Hashtag campaigns promoting female empowerment and advocacy range from Hollywood’s cry to #AskHerMore on the red carpet (discussing the female star’s role, inspiration, training, etc. as opposed to just who designed her dress), to #BringBackOurGirls which raised awareness for kidnapped schoolgirls in Nigeria. #YesAllWomen featured women sharing vivid encounters with sexism in the workplace and #WhyIStayed highlighted stories from women who had been victims of sexual assault.
These types of campaigns, along with the current presidential election, have put women’s issues into the forefront in our society. Donald Trump’s infamous misogynistic language and derogatory words towards the women in our country and opposing candidate Hilary Clinton have sparked tons of debate online. His recent statement accusing Clinton of “playing the Woman Card” led Clinton’s camp to turn the aforementioned negative phrase into a term of power across social media by creating a microsite where people can “get the Woman Card.” Clinton rose to the challenge and flipped the script – creating a form of empowerment online for all women. In response to the comment and reaction, people flocked to Clinton’s campaign, resulting in 115,000 individual donors and $2.4 million dollars fundraised over the next three days. Forty percent of these donors were first-time donors to Clinton’s White House bid. Clearly the “Woman Card” struck a chord.
Although equality for women unfortunately seems to be a never-ending struggle, the development of social discussions such as these and hashtag advocacy campaigns have created a new and much more widespread forum for people to spread love and support for women across the world. #GirlPower
Happy Star Wars Day! May 4th is the unofficial day for all Star Wars fans to celebrate the franchise openly by posting memes that substitute the force for fourth all over their social pages. Did you know that the phrase dates back to at least 1979, on the day Margaret Thatcher was elected Britain’s first woman prime minister. Her party took out a newspaper ad in the London Evening News that said “May the Fourth be with you, Maggie. Congratulations.”
As you celebrate being in a galaxy far, far away today, be sure to mark in your calendar these other dates popularized by movies:
April 25th - Miss Congeniality
Miss Rhode Island answered with the above classic line when asked what her idea of a perfect date. Gold. Now everyone wishes each other a perfect date on April 25th.
October 3rd - Mean Girls
October 3rd is now the unofficial “Quote Mean Girls Day.”
5th of November - V for Vendetta
October 21, 2015 - Back to the Future II
Well, you may have missed this one, but 10/21/15 was the day that Marty McFly arrived to the future - a day many had waited for. Perhaps we’ll now use October 21st to mourn that actual hoverboards, flying cars, and automatic jacket driers still do not exist.
Buzzfeed continues to prove that it’s a leader of content consumption online. It has more than doubled its monthly views year over year, with the majority of its content being consumed on social platforms. Buzzfeed is also enhancing its branded content by using NBC Universal’s studio. Three of its top 15 videos on YouTube are branded content.
Last night, Ted Cruz dropped out of the presidential race, clearing the path for Trump to secure the Republican nomination. Shortly after, people took to Twitter to encourage Hillary Clinton to do the same. Although Hillary has been leading in primaries, Bernie Sanders has been consistently polled as the favorite. According to RealClearPolitics polling number average, Sanders has 54.7 percent, with Trump at 37.2 percent. A much larger spread than Clinton vs. Trump.
Using these numbers, Sanders supporters are saying that in order to prevent Trump in office (something most people can get behind), Clinton should drop out so Bernie Sanders can have the chance to secure the nomination to run against Trump.
Some say the media is to blame for Trump’s constant victories, with a hyper-focus on this outlandish candidate and the absurdities that come out of his mouth. Traditional media also has focused favorably on Hillary Clinton, which based off the polls and anyone who has logged onto their Facebook or Twitter newsfeed, knows that the reports have been skewed.
Every year, movie stars, musicians, and fashion icons come together to raise money for the Metropolitan Museum’s Costume Institute and, more importantly, wear extravagant costumes loosely fitted towards a theme. This year’s theme: Manus x Machina. Below, we compiled some of the most talked about looks from the night, and what the Internet had to say.
The Queen Bey closed the runway by being the last one to arrive, and sans Jay Z. Her dress was made of latex and caused a lot of debate of what it looked like.
The couple showed up in a somewhat matching outfit, with Kim Kardashian working well with the theme and Kanye, well, working something with his blue contacts and cut out jeans. But, of course, Kim was mocked more than Kanye.
Lupita looked amazing, but once you see this comparison you can’t unsee it.
The former One Directioner really got into the theme…
Zac Posen turned Claire Danes into a real-life Cinderella last night to the envy of everyone.
The previously rumored “Becky” was likened to a household object.
The famous matriarch, who is constantly targeted for memes seemingly after every Met Gala, looked similar to a Disney character.
Don’t you love red carpet events?
This new app, Talkshow, has really gotten people talking, well, texting. Talkshow - branded as “texting in public,” allows users to host message-based “Talkshows” about various topics, from sporting events, to television premieres, and even viral trends, like Beyonce’s Lemonade.
Founder Michael Sippey said he wanted to “create Talkshow to give people a platform to share these conversations in front of an audience.” People have been screenshotting conversations and posting them on social media for years, and Talkshow takes that phenomenon to the next level by making the conversation live and inclusive.
If the app, which is currently only available on IOS, actually takes off, it has the potential to change the way we view shows and interact with others over trending topics. It can become the new live-tweeting, which may change how brands and influencers interact with each other.
Would you download Talkshow?
With a lot of Beyonce in the news this week, people may have forgotten that other things did happen. To help you remember, we put together a list of what was trending on Twitter throughout the week.
In case you took a break from life this week, we’re reminding you that Beyonce’s Lemonade dominated online discussion, especially at the beginning of the week. Her visual album had people abuzz with fan theories and “Becky” accusations, and, of course, general appreciation of Lemonade and the Queen Bey.
Remember deflategate, the infamous scandal involving the Patriots from the 2015 Super Bowl? On Monday morning, the court reinstated Tom Brady’s 4-game suspension. This also affected the NFL Draft later in the week and is the reason why New England did not have a first-round pick (which the league stripped as punishment).
Kelly Ripa returned to Kelly and Michael after a short term absence following Michael Strahan’s announcement last week on his plans to leave the show. It was known that she was blindsided by Michael’s announcement and explained her side of the story in her opening monologue.
Tuesday was primary day for many eastern states: Connecticut, Delaware, Rhode Island, Maryland, and Pennsylvania. Both Trump and Clinton came out as winners - except for RI, where Sanders won - making a Trump vs. Clinton presidential election more likely.
Nintendo dominated online conversation with its announcement of its newest system to be released - the Nintendo NX. The Nintendo NX follows the disappointing Wii U for Nintendo’s major consoles. Nintendo also revealed that the currently untitled new Legend of Zelda game will be coming to the NX. Originally with a 2015 release date, the game will now be delayed to 2017 when it will be made available for both the Wii U and NX.
The trailer for Snowden the Movie was released. The upcoming movie about the infamous whistleblower features Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Shailene Woodley. Edward Snowden himself even tweeted about the trailer.
Thursday was National Superhero day, where bloggers and entertainment sites alike tweeted out their favorite superhero images and content.
The first round of the NFL draft was on Thursday night. University of California QB Jared Goff was the number one draft pick by the Los Angeles Rams
International Dance Day is celebrated yearly on April 29th. It came into formation in 1982 by the International Dance Council. International Dance Day helps attract the attention to the public the art of dance and the various types of it. People have been sharing online dancing gifs and clips all day.
Netflix announced that the Punisher will be getting its own show on Netflix, after the character was featured in season two of Daredevil. The Punisher adds to an ever growing list of Marvel/Netflix original series.
Virtual reality has been dominating conversation all year. We saw it being thoroughly discussed at SXSW, a Facebook press conference, and even on April Fool’s Day. We know that virtual reality has the potential for doing great things, like act as an aide in medical training, and trivial things, like this social media selfie.
So what is the future of VR going to look like? Is it going to be like artificial intelligence technologies, another gadget originally dreamed about in science fiction books, in which there’s a clear divide in capabilities and use (IBM’s Watson vs. Apple’s Siri)?
On the consumer end, it’s difficult to tell if household virtual reality sets are total game-changers, or just another toy cashing in on a fad. I own the Samsung Gear VR and right now it seems like it’s more of a party trick than an actual tech essential. I plug my phone into the device and then my friends and I play with it for about an hour, or until my phone gets overheated. The other day, we used the application Streetviewer to visit Florence, Italy, a favorite city among us. We also transported to Japan and somewhere in the middle of the ocean. As avid travelers, it was fun to immerse ourselves into foreign cities, but we wouldn’t use it as a tool to help plan a trip. And it certainly wouldn’t replace a trip on our bucket lists.
There are also “entertainment” apps, which allow brands to easily place themselves in the VR experience. One of the entertainment apps we tested was Battle for Avenger Tower. The app places the user amongst the Avengers and close to Thor, in a short scene leading up to a confrontation with Ultron. Nothing is required of the user but to be in that moment, and of course, stare at Thor.
Perhaps the most compelling features of virtual reality are the games. Gamers always ask for more convincing experiences, and that’s what virtual reality allows for. Virtual reality immerses the player into the game where the user experiences the fear and anticipation of a game in a somewhat realistic setting. Mobile favorite Temple Run was actually terrifying on the VR as it felt like you were running for your life in order to escape the creatures. The popular game Minecraft, a hit across multiple platforms, is also available on VR. Minecraft for VR actually allows you to be in the world that you created. Like some popular games, it does require a controller. Although groundbreaking, it’s difficult to deem virtual reality as the future for gaming, as many had done in the past for 3D and motion control systems.
In addition to the entertainment and games are the “Concepts,” a section in the Oculus store, where you purchase and download your apps. This section is a reminder that virtual reality is still quickly growing, as it houses the experimental apps. It gives users an early look of some the innovative and experiential apps in development. Popular Concepts apps include RCSI Medical Training Sim, The Night Cafe, and Experience Mecca. These apps tend to lean towards the educational side, where they bring users into the fields of science, art, and religion.
With the potential for educating the masses and enhancing the gaming experience, it is actually theorized that the porn industry may help mainstream virtual reality, as it had for VHS and e-commerce (now what that says about us as a society is a whole other thought piece). VR may go the way of other technologies that had trouble popularizing itself with the common consumer, like Google Glass, or it can assert itself as the must-have technology for every household. As developed as virtual reality is, we have to remember that it’s still in its early stages, and anything can happen. We do know though, that it has the potential to affect how we learn, shop, and play.
In this article, @techcrunch takes us through the 25 most-followed Instagram accounts. It, unsurprisingly, includes millennial pop singers like Miley Cyrus, Justin Bieber, and Selena Gomez, the Kardashian clan, who thrive off of Instagram, a few brands, and sports players, more specifically, international football players (no, not American football).
The celebrities with the most followers tend to initially attract their following through their established popularity in real life. They gain interaction and retain followers though by giving what fans want - an inside look of their daily, glamorous lives. Stars like Taylor Swift allow followers a peak into their homes, families, and star-studded friendships. They balance it with announcements of tours, albums and performances.
The top 25 list only has a handful of brands, which shows that Instagram users look to follow people over products. Victoria’s Secret and Nike are both among the top 25 most-followed, which makes sense as they both feature their spokespeople and emit a fun and sexy vibe. The two other brands on the list are NatGeo and, of course, Instagram - proving that on a photo sharing platform, having high quality images is vital.
MTV Cribs is coming back, making us very nostalgic for early 2000s (even though it did actually end in 2011, but none of us watched it then). In an attempt to reach the new generation of teens and create an “intimate” look, MTV Cribs’s revival will be shown on Snapchat - the number one social media platform for teenagers. Since fans already get an up-close-and-personal look into their favorite celebrities’ lives through daily Instagram and Snapchat stories, having the show on Snapchat makes sense - the viewers are already on the platform looking for more.
It’ll be interesting to see how the show plans to monetize this and if they’ll be incorporating some type of paid advertising or brand placement.
Unless you took a sabbatical from the Internet this weekend, your social media feeds were flooded with commentary, gifs, theories, and overall hysteria for Lemonade, Beyoncé’s newest visual album that was exclusively released on HBO and Tidal this past Saturday.
I HAVE ARRIVED, PEASANTS
Unlike her self-titled visual album from 2013, Lemonade takes viewers on an hour-long journey, each video and song tied together through a poetic narrative by Beyoncé herself. The album is full of empowering lyrics, political statements, and true to Beyoncé - tons of subtle Easter eggs woven throughout the film, reminding us all that we think we know, but we have no idea.
What makes Lemonade unique is that it’s so inherently Beyoncé. Notoriously private, Lemonade comes off as raw, vulnerable, and more intimate than her self-titled release. In her narrative, Beyoncé continuously talks about the pain of infidelity, leading fans to create detailed conspiracy theories - the strongest that she’s speaking about Jay Z’s alleged cheating, or the end of her parents’ marriage.
What’s respectable and frustrating at the same time is that we’ll never know the truth. There’s not an artist out there more calculated and strategic than Queen Bey, and she won’t make deciphering of this code easy for anyone.
After the surprise release of her self-titled album late on a Saturday night at the end of 2013, critics and fans alike wondered how Beyoncé could top a stunt like that, releasing full-length videos with each song with no prior notice, warning, or advertising.
Trying to find another artist that can do what I just did
Lemonade is the perfect follow-up to self-titled, showing us another side of Beyoncé – but only as much as she wants us to see. In self-titled, we saw Beyoncé emerge as a mother, wife, and sexual being – letting women know that you can be all of those things and more, and that our jobs and relationships aren’t the only things that define us.
In Lemonade, Bey uses the opportunity to self-reflect and talk about the darker side of relationships that aren’t always visible to those around us. She takes viewers on the journey of the anger, hurt, and work that goes in to fixing a broken relationship. Whether or not she’s speaking about her personal issues, Beyoncé brings up struggles almost all of her fans can relate to.
If you love her, hate her (how dare you?), or don’t care (seriously, what gives you the right?) about Beyoncé, we can agree that her level of artistry and marketing is nothing short of genius, and sets the stage for artists to think beyond their traditional models. Go on and get yours, girl.