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Tuminds Newsflash – September

Picture for Rene Looper Rene Looper

September 30th 2015

1. #IStandWithAhmed

Twitter was overrun by one particular hashtag this month – #IStandWithAhmed. This was about 14 year old Ahmed Mohamed being arrested at his school in Texas for building a clock, which, because he was Muslim, was thought to be a hoax bomb, and sent social media (and the rest of the world) into a frenzy. The blatant racial attack prompted political leaders, celebrities, CEOs, other influencers and public figures, as well as the general public, to make their voice heard on social media using the hashtag. One of the first to share his view on the matter was President Obama:

Others who followed included the Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, who invited him to visit their headquarters, NASA who tweeted their support for Ahmed’s passion for technology, and Hillary Clinton who encouraged Ahmed to “stay curious and keep building”.

Like so many news events and good causes that instigate passion, social media is the tool that people turn to when wanting to make their voice heard; and thanks to those people, instead of being condemned for his intelligence and curiosity, Ahmed has a very bright future ahead of him.

2. Snapchat: Lets’s Talk Comedy Overlays and Trophies

Does Snapchat ever stop? It was only in July that the platform brought in a number of user-friendly changes including the “tap to view” functionality, enabling users to view snaps more than once and altering the way friends can be added (read more about these changes in the Tuminds Newsflash from July here).

Now Snapchat have gone down the gimmick route and brought in funny overlays and trophies – yes trophies … let’s address those first. Snapchat have decided to reward those who love to snap and encourages users to explore the platform and discover new opportunities to earn some trophies. This may be something as simple as recording a video snap, the length of your story or the number of points you have – but who really knows what those points mean and how they are calculated; it seems to be a tightly kept secret on Snapchat’s part.

However, the most talked-about feature to come users’ way are the new overlays, which are being dubbed the Snapchat Lenses. The company is innovatively using advanced facial recognition technology to apply CGI animations on the user’s face in real-time through the front camera. The software is able to tell when your face is moving and moves the animated overlays with it. There are seven lenses to choose from and at the moment a new one is rotated every day. You can choose to look start-struck, like you belong in a horror movie, aged by 50 years with a lot of wrinkles, or be a blubbering wreck with cartoon style tears. The overlays are fun and very well put together due to the high quality CGI, however, the question is – do we really need anything else encouraging selfies?? Snapchat would probably say yes.

3. Instagram Reach 400 Million Milestone

Just short of their 5th birthday (you could call it a pre-birthday celebration), Instagram are able to enjoy not one, but two milestones. The photo-centric social platform have just announced they are now a community of 400 million who have posted more than 40 billion photos to the site. This puts the app well-ahead of Twitter’s 316 million monthly active users and considering that the latter 100 million users to join the platform did so in the last nine months alone, it is clear who the award for social popularity would go to.

In addition to this rapid increase in users, it was also revealed that the community has evolved to become increasingly global, with over 75% of users living outside of the US and a large proportion of the most recent users to join are from countries including Brazil, Indonesia and Japan. 

The surge in love for Instagram is also an indication of our universal love for carefully crafted food, pristine landscapes … and of course, the selfie.

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