Student’s idea earns mayor’s award
By Scott Bellile
As city officials explore how to use technology to reach Millennials, a New London High School junior recently proposed one simple and free idea.
Olivia Steingraber appeared before the council April 12 offering to set up a Community Geofilter on social messaging application Snapchat. She said the Geofilters could provide positive PR for the city over social media.
Two nights later, Thursday, April 14, Mayor Gary Henke presented Steingraber a Special Community Enhancement Award before local business owners at the New London Chamber Awards Banquet.
Steingraber brought her efforts to life with help from student artist Paris Trumbower as part of a business class project. Her teacher Missy Porath said it’s “fun to see a high school project come to life and provide real world learning for students.”
Community Geofilters are graphics that Snapchat users can overlay on the photos and videos they send to friends. They’re like logos that announce a Snapchat user is sending his or her “Snap” from a specific city, landmark, university or other public location. The person sending the Snap can only apply a Geofilter when the GPS coordinates on their mobile device indicate they’re in an area where the Geofilter is available.
“We just had St. Patty’s Day here in New London. Thousands of people were here in New London who typically don’t celebrate with us,” Steingraber explained to the council April 12. “I think it would be so cool to have one of these filters that would say ‘New Dublin Wisconsin,’ that when these people come, they can put it onto their photos and put it on their stories so everyone knows they were in New Dublin, Wisconsin.”
Steingraber presented to the council Trumbower’s preliminary designs that say New London or New Dublin and incorporate Wolf River and shamrock motifs. She’s preparing to submit them to Snapchat for approval.
“They show off positive things about New London like the river, the water, fishing, New Dublin, Bulldog Pride,” Steingraber said.
City alderman David Morack commended Steingraber and Porath for exploring the topic. He said he’ll bring the proposed Geofilters before the economic development committee for further discussion.
“We don’t want to be left too far behind on this thing,” Morack said. “We want to see how other communities are using it and get New London to use it as well.”
Snapchat is an app that allows people to send picture and video messages to a select list of friends. The messages self-destruct after a preset time limit. The company says the app has 100 million daily users.