Connected Making social media fun again


Puking rainbow selfies. Face-morphing filters. Voice-modulation tools.

Social media can be fun.

While studies continue to detail the negative impact of Facebook and other platforms on our psyche, it’s important to remember that most social media are meant to be just that: forums for sharing and serving as a welcome respite from everyday life.

Social media is supposed to make our lives better, not bring us down.

Some platforms continue to roll out amazing filters and tools for making social media enjoyable. A favorite pastime in the Earnheardt house is to sit and scroll through the new filters on Snapchat, Facebook and Instagram.

It’s a fun way to connect with my kids, even if I never post a single face-swap pic.

Here are some fun new filters and tools we’ve tried recently:

Snapchat Lenses: Snapchat launched Lenses over a year ago as a new way to express how we’re feeling. Since then, as Snapchat announced in their Lenses update, “We’ve become puppies, puked rainbows, face-swapped with our best friends – and begun to explore how Lenses can change the world around us.”

A few weeks ago, Snapchat added new ways to use Lenses.

“While Snapping with the rear-facing camera, simply tap the camera screen to find new Lenses that can paint the world around you with new 3-D experiences.”

Snapchat continues to dominate the face- and voice-filtering selfie game, while other platforms like Instagram and Facebook are trying to keep pace.

Instagram Stickers: With an update in April, Instagram provided users with new sticker features for stories and direct messaging. Included in the new features are selfie stickers for adding smaller, thumbnail-size pics to be used as reactions in stories and messages.

“Turn your selfie into a sticker so you can quickly share your reaction or trade faces with someone [or something] in your story,” Instagram announced in a blog post.

Take a photo and you’ll see a new sticker with a camera that lets you create the mini-selfie.

“Before or after capturing, tap to apply different frame styles: fade or circle. Put your selfie sticker anywhere.”

Facebook Spaces: Facebook recently introduced Spaces, a new virtual reality app for connecting with friends in an interactive, albeit virtual environment. Spaces launched in beta for Oculus Rift and Touch, their VR companies.

The first step is creating an identity that represents the real you. “This helps people recognize you and makes VR feel more like hanging out in person,” Facebook said.

It’s a fairly simple process: choose one of your Facebook photos and select from an array of options for creating your VR avatar.

“Start with one of these options, then customize until it feels just right,” Facebook added. You can change hairstyle, eye color, facial features and more until you look like, well, you.

Adam Earnheardt chairs the communication department at Youngstown State University. Read his blog at adamearn.com and follow him on Twitter at @adamearn.

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