Geofilters customize Snapchat in New London
By Scott Bellile
Two New London teens’ efforts to instill some community pride in local Snapchat users is up and running.
Users of Snapchat, a social messaging mobile app where users send self-destructing photos to one another, can now embed the New London Community Geofilter on their photos.
The Geofilter is an optional graphic that people can use if they’re physically located within the GPS coordinates of a specific city when sending the picture.
Olivia Steingraber submitted to Snapchat the Geofilter, which was designed by her friend Paris Trumbower. The Geofilter was approved by Snapchat in September after some rounds of rejection.
Snapchat has strict guidelines requiring Geofilters be original artwork. While Steingraber said Trumbower designed all her proposed designs by hand, somehow an illustration depicting trees along the Wolf River didn’t meet Snapchat’s originality guidelines.
Steingraber and Trumbower managed to get a simplistic New London Wisconsin text in white font approved, which is the one now being used.
The hope is to get a more detailed design approved in the near future, Steingraber said. Sometime soon the pair plans to submit a graphic showing the state of Wisconsin with a heart where New London falls on the map.
The New London Economic Development Committee announced at its Oct. 25 meeting that the initial white text Geofilter had been approved.
New London Mayor Gary Henke said he’s already seen it used in the community. He described a pair of Snapchat users he encountered as “absolutely giddy” about it.
“We saw two while ordering pizza,” Henke said. “Two very young, absolutely thrilled young ladies that were, ‘Oh, we’ve got a Geofilter for New London now!’ And they were going on and on and on.”
New London Area Chamber of Commerce Director Laurie Shaw asked the committee if Snapchat users are aware it exists or if any promotion needed to be done.
Henke replied anyone young and tech-savvy already knows. The room burst into laughter at his self-depreciating comment, “We just need to get with the times, Lori.”
Steingraber and Trumbower kicked off the effort to design a Geofilter this past spring. City officials took notice and, before the project was even completed, recognized Steingraber with a New London Area Chamber of Commerce Chamber Award in May for initiating the effort to give New London an identity on the app.
In addition to the city Geofilter, a New London High School Geofilter the girls made was approved this summer.
New London High School student Parker Fermanich told the Press Star Monday, Oct. 31, Snapchat is his main form of communication. He likes how the Geofilters personalize his messages based on his location.
“It’s cool that you can tell where people are,” Fermanich said. “That was a pretty good idea they added a Geofilter for New London.”
Next the girls want to submit a New Dublin Geofilter that Snapchat users could use in March at the St. Patrick’s Day parade.