Snapchat vs Instagram. Which Will Emerge As The Ultimate Platform?

by in Best of the Web, Get Mobile, Technology, What We're Thinking About 

The battle between the two social media giants ensues with the fight for new followers, features, and filters. Both platforms roughly operate in the same way, but have key characteristics which set them apart and have some users running to Instagram and others to Snapchat. Which one will emerge the ultimate platform?

We took a look at four features that both platforms have and compared the main differences and similarities to find out which one comes out on top.

Stories

  • On Snapchat stories are now within your own personal feed. Kinda weird, we know. Snapchat’s dramatic redesign places stories within your feed instead of the promotional page. Not only are they in your personal feed now, but the company has also separated celebrities and influencers’ stories from your friends and family.
  • On Instagram stories are located at the top of your personal feed and the discovery page. The personal feed only features the people you follow while the discovery page displays popular content from celebrities, brands, or social media influencers. For years, Snapchat was the only platform for stories, but Instagram might be giving them a run for their money.

Messaging

  • On Snapchat messaging can be quite personal as most users’ accounts are only viewable for friends and family. In that sense, messaging is direct and disappears moments after, which adds another element of secrecy and therefore privacy. Snapchat also allows group chats for fun messaging within your small group of friends, customizable stories (maybe not everyone should see your Saturday night story) quick disappearing chats. Although, downside being, who always remembers every snapchat they send?
  • On Instagram messaging is largely based off the pictures you post which differs from Snapchat’s solely direct messaging and stories that disappear within 24 hours. Insta creates a community of users who can connect by direct messaging. Whether its commenting directly on someone’s photo of their glorious avocado toast or just saying hi, the messaging feature is pretty straight forward and looks like it too.

Filters

  • On Snapchat face filters have reigned supreme for as long as anyone can remember. Who doesn’t love the puppy filter or floral crown filter that makes you look like a goddess? The OG of filters constantly creates new filters to add to your selfie obsession. Their face filters are always on point with satisfaction across the board.
  • Snapchat’s geofilters and stickers have always gone hand in hand with the social media giant. From playful geofilters that let everyone know you went to that trendy coffee spot on the corner to custom filters you make yourself, the platform allows for fun location markers.
  • Augmented reality is one of the coolest tech advances so who wouldn’t want to join in? Unlike Insta, Snapchat incorporates a bit of AR into its user experience that a completely different element of fun.
  • Stickers have always been a part of Snapchat’s stories and they can also be incorporated into chats. While stickers originated here, there a few updates with new options to try which can get boring. But, with the new redesign users can now change the font treatment to any of their text which are stickers within themselves.

 

  • On Instagram facial filters haven’t been as strong as its rival. Compared to Snapchat, Insta is just a youngin’ when it comes to filters and it shows. The filters are not as developed, perhaps not as sophisticated looking, and as a user myself I rarely see anyone use them.
  • But, looking at Insta’s photo filters, users love them! Not only does this apply to their stories, but to actual photo posts. Users have a variety of preset filters to choose from which can make an ordinary photo extraordinary. Stories also incorporate a few preset filters, but have some of the best stickers compared to Snapchat. Constant updates keep users entertained and satisfied.

Overall Platform

  • On Snapchat personal messaging is easy and fun with an added level of privacy due to a 24 hr limit on all communication. The platform incorporates fun stickers, facial filters, geofilters, and stories. A user can also follow their favorite celebrities and stay updated with news stories from major publications/companies like The Wall Street Journal or The Daily Mail.
  • On Instagram the photo sharing platform has amassed 800 million users who have created a massive online community. Users can post their own personal photos, share moments in their life, and stay connected by following friends and family. It’s newest update came with stories to encourage users to post photos in a more casual and frequent way than the usual kind of posting. Add filters and stickers to have an even more interactive experience.

The two apps, so similar yet so different, continue to compete for users’ phone screens. Seemingly neck and neck in the battle for your iPhone screen, which one wins you over? Comment below who you think is the winner or tweet us @FLIRTComm!

5 CES Products for Your “I Want This So Bad, But Do I Need It List”

by in Big Ideas, Technology 

The whirlwind of CES has finally settled down, and we’ve found some of the best products to put on your “I Want This So Bad, But Do I Need It List”.

Not only are they innovatively genius, but you can actually apply these products to real life. Well, maybe just a few. Most of these products are novelties, but you’ll want them anyway. Even with their pretty price tags.

CES is the annual trade show hosted by Consumer Technology Association for all things consumer technology. It is a global stage for all innovators and tech break through which happens once a year in January.

Wi-Charge

  • Imagine living a cordless life. Ahhh, just the sound of it makes our skin tingle. In today’s world of endless cords, Wi-Charge wants to revolutionize the charging scene. Wi-Charge believes mobile devices are not truly mobile if they require a power cord. The long-range wireless system sends power to your device wherever it is in the room with no cords or charging mats to think about. Approval from the FDA, means it’s safe to use and will soon be seen on the market. Happy charging everyone!
  • Check this product out at http://www.wi-charge.com/ 
Photo Credit:  https://www.digitaltrends.com/mobile/wi-charge-in-room-wireless-charging-approved-fda/

HiMirror

  • Beauty lovers unite! Or those who just want silky soft skin and will do anything, and we mean anything, to achieve those goals. HiMirror could (hopefully) be the answer to all your skin problems. This CES 2018 Innovation Awards Honoree must-have is a voice interactive smart mirror capable of offering personalized skincare based on the assessments its takes of your face. HiMirror helps you assess your skin’s condition including fine lines, clarity, dark spots, and pores so that you can effectively and efficiently target problem spots.
  • Check this product out at https://www.himirror.com/us_en/home
Photo Credit: https://techcrunch.com/2016/10/13/himirror/

Capsulier

  • Missing your pumpkin spice latte? Don’t you worry. With Capsulier’s easy breezy CAPSI system, you can custom make your coffee pods for any kind of drink you want! Capsulier is every coffee maker’s dream for its compatibility with personal coffee makers like Keurig, easy interface, and reusable pods. Need that hot cup o’ joe, but can’t make it out of bed? Pair your Google Home or other smart speaker and make your coffee from the comfort of your bed. CAPSI, Capsulier’s pods, are steel for easy cleanup and an environmental touch. So, go ahead, make a pumpkin spice latte all day every day.
  • Check this product out at https://www.capsulier.com/
Photo Credit: https://www.digitaltrends.com/home/capsulier-home-coffee-capsule-machine/

Aura

  • In the age of technology where nothing seems private, Aura introduces a security system that will make you feel safe and secure, even when you’re not in the privacy of your own home. With no installation other than plugging the Aura Beacons into an outlet, the system provides hassle free set up for even more ease of mind. Aura will monitor your home 24/7 and make sure your notified of any activity, while also learning to differentiate a fan from a person from a pet. Aura can cover your entire home or just the rooms where you want some extra security, it’s all up to you! Stay up to date with the app for easy monitoring.
  • Check this product out at https://www.aurahome.com/

Photo Credit: https://www.therecord.com/news-story/7048187-waterloo-startup-unveils-high-tech-home-security-system-at-las-vegas-show/

The Wall

  • Throw your TV away everyone. It’s time to install…The Wall. Just like its name, The Wall is probably what you think it is. With the thought, “Screens should not be limited by size…instead, they should blend into any home”, Jonghee Han, president of Samsung, sees the value of integrating aesthetics and technology. With a screen of 146 inches, the behemoth can easily take over one wall within any room. Have a smaller wall you want to fill? The system can be fitted to any size with its modular structure and let any consumer create their dream screen. While you can’t purchase The Wall now, Samsung intends to commercialize the product, so be on the lookout for it in the near future.
  • Photo Credit: https://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2018/01/samsungs-the-wall-tv-is-a-modular-146-inch-monster-that-uses-microled/

Who’s Your Chief Design Officer?

by in Big Ideas, Event Design, What We're Thinking About 

Every day, we’re surrounded by brilliant design: from industrial, to graphic, to architectural, to the personal. We all make decisions based on design impressions every day, from simple subway signage that makes order out of the chaos of the rush hour to the elegance of the Apple watch interface. Apple has elevated design for decades, and in 2015 anointed Jony Ive, the brilliant industrial designer and user interface guru, the title of Chief Design Officer. (As of December 7, 2017 Ive resumed direct management of the company’s product design team).

So we wonder out loud, Why don’t we have more chief design officers?

As creative director at FLIRT, it’s often easy to appreciate design aesthetics. It’s my job. But for our clients, that job is often not on the front burner. We’re not talking about the simplistic execution of brand standards, we’re talking about the visualization of complex ideas and human emotions . . . design with a purpose.

Our collective job at FLIRT is to educate and empower our clients to understand the value of good solid design and know it when they see it. Our charge is to share the design tenets with our clients in order to enable them to make smart design decisions among peers and coworkers, and also with us as strategic partners.

Hillman Curits put it best: “The more involved and respected a client feels, the more secure they’ll feel with your work and the less they will feel the need to watch your every move, thus giving you more freedom as a designer.”

 In many cases an average design can transform into a great design with just a little more discovery, one more question or just one more revision. It is often said that if you are digging a hole in the wrong place, digging it deeper isn’t going to help. At FLIRT we roam, we keep moving and keep discovering, and we dig many holes until we strike gold.

  • Great Design isn’t expensive but it is expressive.
  • Great Design is often simple, clean and at times seems so obvious.
  • Great Design can and should have limits! Restrictions become a built in editor.
  • Great Design lives by one law, the law of Simplicity.
  • Don’t let technology and speed rush the process. These are just tools. Use them wisely.
  • Great Design is crafted by all teams digging everywhere at once, searching for inspiring treasure.
  • Great Design borrows graphic artifacts from the past. Nothing more inspiring than the Disney logo!
  • Great Design optimizes the viewer’s perception and the viewer’s experience.
  • Great Design is iconic and unifies and breaks down our differences.
  • Great Design elevates our aesthetics and the entire environment, creating an atmosphere everyone wants to be part of.
  • Great Design is not an opinion or guess, it’s a push and a shove. It’s a constant check and balance of insight and instincts.
  • Great Design inspires and adds dimension and meaning to our existence.
  • Great Design is always worth the effort!

 

Every client, product and person has something to say. Design is a powerful way to express it to others. Smart, consistent and effective design ensures that these messages are put forth with intention and purpose. Design extends into each and every detail, and each and every detail can indeed be designed.

 

Image Via Huis Design

 

 

Playlists – Marketing Tools in the Era of Streaming

by in Big Ideas 

With the rise of streaming services like Spotify and Apple Music, the music industry has been taken over by playlists. No longer are listeners confined to a single or album, there are playlists for every mood, situation and day of the week. The way consumers interact with music via these streaming services has made playlists incredibly important. Artists and record labels want to get their songs in them. They are curated not only by individuals but by Spotify’s data analytics. Their algorithms determine which songs, artists and playlists are working, making the curating of lists into a science. This has turned playlists into the perfect marketing tools for more than just musicians and record labels. Due to their interactive and customizable nature, playlists reach listeners and engage with them; an engagement that can be targeted and measured. Brands haven’t failed to noticed this and thus have been making the most of streaming services for the last couple of years. They have started inserting themselves organically in the lives of listeners by sponsoring and curating playlists. Of course, the traditional ads will come on promoting their products, but with their lists they can now reach even the listeners who pay for music with no ads. Companies have moved beyond ads and sponsoring ad free listening time, they are now curating their own lists and targeting specific demographics with them.

Take a look at some successful uses of playlists as promotional activations:

DISNEY

Disney and Spotify have partnered several times to promote movies. Besides the traditional ads and video pop-ups in the platform, they have created exiting activations for a few films that have included carefully curated playlists and personalized listening experiences.

For Beauty and the Beast Disney created a digital campaign where, using ads, they directed Spotify users to a digital Beast’s Castle they could explore. Every room in this castle had a Spotify playlist filled with Disney songs and users were encouraged to explore and find their favorite. The website is still live and once you log in with your Spotify profile it’ll use it’s algorithms to direct you to the room that matched your music taste.

Want to know which would be your room? http://beautyandthebeast-spotify.co.uk/

After their Beauty and the Beast collaboration Disney and Spotify collaborated once again to create an interactive experience that allowed users in over 16 countries to generate playlists inspired by both their personal music habits and the soundtrack to the movie Guardians of the Galaxy 2. This was called the “Throw back your playlist” and it was an engaging way to promote the movie in a personalized interactive way by making the most out of Spotify’s audio recognition algorithms.

The Guardians of the Galaxy integration is a unique experience which will transport Spotify users back to the music of the 70s, taking the movie for inspiration.”

More Information about their playlist here.

 

NETFLIX – Stranger Things

Stranger Things was the perfect show for Netflix to promote through Spotify. Given its status as a cultural phenomenon, its love for the 80’s and its plethora of pop culture references it’s natural to think of music as promotional tool. The show already has a great soundtrack and using it and the character’s personalities to curate playlists is a perfect activation for the brand. Netflix and Spotify took this integration one step farther, taking a cue from the popular “Which character are you?” quizzes they used user’s listening habits and the platforms algorithms to match them with a character’s playlist, all filled with great 80’s hits.

Curious about which character you match, give it a go: http://spotify-strangerthings.com/

 

HULU  – Handmaids Tale

Hulu did something similar for their show The Handmaid’s Tale, even though it was a less interactive activation than the other examples they used playlists to promote the show. First Hulu curated a playlist for the show that took songs from their soundtrack and songs that matched the feel and spirit of the show. Many revolving around the theme of freedom. They also had the actors curate their own playlists which matched their character’s journey.

 More information about the Handmaid’s Tale song choices here.

 

What are your favorite movie or show playlists?

 

Images courtesy of: Vulture, Spotify, Musically.com and The Drum.

Bitcoin’s Rise

by in Big Ideas, Technology 

Technology has helped us reach new frontiers. E-commerce has exponentially grown because of the advancement of technology. Is digital currency next in line for a huge growth? Bitcoin is a very popular topic of discussion among tech and economic peers. What makes Bitcoin a modern-day mystery and a ground-breaking innovation is that no one knows who actually created it, not many understand the process of how it works, and what its future will be.

What is Bitcoin?

Bitcoin is a cryptocurrency, which is a digital form of assets working as a medium of exchange. Cryptocurrency is accepted as a form of currency. There are few major companies like Overstock and eBay that accept Bitcoin as payment, because of its unknown not many major companies are currently accepting it as payment. Bitcoin isn’t the only type of cryptocurrency. There are several other cryptocurrencies which are Ethereum, Litecoin, Monero.

How does it work?

What makes Bitcoin so interesting is how it works. Imagine having a dollar in your pocket. Do you know where that dollar has been or where it came from? With Bitcoin, all of that information is available and closely monitored. Bitcoins exist on what is called a block chain. The block chain is a “file” or ledger of all the transactions where the Bitcoin has been. Imagine knowing where your dollar has been all the way from the printing press and being able to verify authentication. It’s a little more complex, Bitcoin essentially eliminates the middleman-which are banks-making it one of the reasons it is so controversial.

How did it start?

No one really knows who invented Bitcoin! Somebody using the alias Satoshi Nakamoto is credited with creating/mining the first Bitcoin in 2008. To this day the person has not been identified; some even believe it’s a group. Others have tried to take the credit of creating Bitcoin, but have been debunked. Other than a few clues here and there, not much is known of Satoshi Nakamoto. The algorithm Satoshi created only allows for 21 million bitcoins to be mined by the year 2140. Back in 2012 the price of Bitcoin was $12. As of today, it’s worth nearly $7000 per Bitcoin! The value is anticipated to only increase as time goes on.

Cons of Bitcoin

One of the biggest issues surrounding Bitcoin is that since it’s difficult to explain its origin and use, there’s a lot of mistrust and misinformation. There have been groups that create “savings and trust funds” with bitcoin and end up being Ponzi schemes or fake “wallets”. Wallets are mostly used to store, send and receive Bitcoins.  Another factor is the intimidation of it. The method of sending and receiving isn’t complicated for savvy computer users, but for the average computer users all those numbers and letters attached to the bitcoin seems intimidating. The price of Bitcoin is volatile. Recently is has been an advantage for owners of Bitcoin because of the rise of the price. For more information, we recommend the very interesting Netflix documentary “Banking on Bitcoin.” What do you think of cryptocurrency? Do you think it’s the future of all commerce?

 

Images Courtesy of: Tech Crunch, NY Post,