Snapchat, from sexting app to one of the most valuable apps in our digital communication.

A few days ago, I wrote this report for futureunion.nl, the platform for graduated Lifestyle Professionals. It’s a report which gives you insights and opportunities in Snapchat, their target group and how you might use Snapchat for business. 

If you’re interested in this report, you should click the image below and read it! Want to know how to use Snapchat specifically for your business, let’s grab a cup of coffee and have a chat!

snapchat
Snapchat is an app which is extremely popular among smartphone users between 13 and 34 years old. The app is still growing and becomes more mainstream which means that its target group is changing. Are the youngsters already leaving the app? Well, not yet and Snapchat will continuously innovate their app to prevent that and to survive the ‘attack’ fo their parents. Yes, you heard me, even their parents are throwing up rainbows right now… But, what makes this app so attractive? Read it in this report! 
Advertisements

A HOTEL RUNNED BY REFUGEES: THE MAGDAS HOTEL

magdas HOTEL, in Vienna, is Europe’s first hotel run by refugees. With the current refugee crisis Europe is overrun by people who search for a better life.

Negativity is what they get
The refugees search for a life without war and desperate circumstances. Where they hope to find some positivity, they often get the opposite. Many locals resent the presence of refugees and the whole refugee crisis has received a negative charge. Most of the refugees who arrive in Austria don’t have a chance of entering the job market and especially not without any professional qualifications. They struggle in their acclimatization because they don’t speak the local language well enough or because their qualifications are not recognized. Besides that, they suffered terrors which have left them deeply traumatized.

What to do with this crisis?
European countries seem to have no idea what to do with the whole migration, they entrust them to the social system and the refugees go from shelter to shelter. But what if the refugees could do something which would better the integration and make them ready for their own future?

magdas Hotel
magdas Hotel, centrally located in the green heart of Vienna, is a social solution which is operated by the Magdas Society, part of the Caritas Archdiocese Vienna. The Magdas Society runs also some other social businesses in the city that serve disadvantaged Austrians (handicapped, long-term unemployed or people recently released from prison).

The hotel is specifically designed to serve refugees and has the aim to help refugees with shelter, food and last but not least: to improve their marketable skills. They run the hotel from the ground floor up.

INFINITE VIEWER

“You will soon realize – something is different here. magdas HOTEL is fresh, open-minded and courageous. In short, “lässig” (casual), as we like to say in Vienna. magdas HOTEL makes people from all over the world come together. As guests, employees or friends. Enjoy your stay with us and experience Vienna with open eyes. Stay open-minded!” – magdas HOTEL

Resistance
I guess there will be some resistance in society from people who believe that refugees are stealing their jobs or their shelter. But I don’t believe that the biggest mistakes in the whole refugee crisis are made by the refugees.. There are a lot of issues within the systems of authority, which should be resolved. It’s true that there is unemployment in Europe and it’s a shame that some people can’t be independent or afford a basic lifestyle because of that, while they wish they could. But you can’t tell me that these problems are there because of the refugees and I don’t believe that we create better solutions if we stay attached in negativity.

Time to create some social concepts who can make most of the people happy! Fortunately it’s already happening with initiatives as the magdas HOTEL.

 

Do you want to read more about the Magdas Hotel?  Tea after Twelve wrote a great issue about the magdas HOTEL, read it here.

THE FUTURE OF MEAT

The Future of Meat is an installation which has the aim to inform people about the different ways our future could unfold with regard to meat consumption.

While visiting The Future of Meat, you will become a time traveler who has to make the choice which future scenario will be the one for society in 2050. You will walk through five rooms, each one has is own fictional film which will let you experience five possible future scenarios of which you will have to choose:

Are we going to live a future in which meat will be replaced by insect meat, laboratory meat, in which their will be eaten less meat and more local, a future wherein there will be no meat but only products who replace meat (like soy, seitan, lupine, etc.) or are we going to do nothing?

Anna and Madelaine Berlis, the founders of The Future of Meat, want to get people discussing the problems we face with regard to meat consumption from a more objective point of view. “Meat is a highly emtional and personal topic, and many people find it difficult to talk about openly. By looking towards the future collectively, it may be possible to achieve more open and constructive conversations, rather than just pointing fingers at what we think others are doing wrong. Also, by clarifying some of the possible roads that meat consumption may take, we hope that we can motivate people to act in a way that will help make their ideal future a reality.”

Future scenario’s
I get really excited when I read these kind of scenarios. Future scenario’s are drawn up by relative uncertainties which become the key drivers or variables that shape the future. By creating future scenario’s, you will be ready for the most unexpected future.

Technologies as 3D-printing, food-printing, lab meat are already there, just like consumers are already eating insects, supplements who replace specific nutrition, vegan food and/or they are more focused on local produced food. But, it’s the question what in the world is eventually able to cause a radical change and which scenario(‘s) will be the one(s) who can survive.

Which future scenario would you choose and why?

CONSUMERS BECOME (PAID) INFLUENCERS AND SALES & MARKETING ASSISTANTS WITH BRANDBASSADOR

Do you have a whole lot of followers on your social media accounts which are loving every tiny thing you put online? Well, I’ve got some news for you! Keep on posting, because from now on, you can convert your social media followers in social currency by becoming a Brandbassador. 

BRANDBASSADOR is an online tribe of influencers who are able to give your brand a boost through their social community.

Onepiece
Onepiece is the first brand who joins Brandbassador: “We want to connect with our customers and utilize their ability to share great content and deals with their network.” Their Brandbassadors are called ‘The PieceKeepers’ and are the ones who maximize the social media efforts, boost the brand awareness, create a social tribe and increase the sales.

Interesting marketing and sales innovation
The Brandambassador is some interesting innovation in marketing and sales because of the fact that the marketing and sales of a brand is now done by the customers who like the brand and who can influence their surroundings: according to Nielsen people are four times more likely to buy a product when referred by a friend”.

How to become an (paid) influencer?
By linking your social media accounts (as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr, Vine, Pinterest and Youtube) with brands who are joining the Brandbassador viral tribe, Brandbassador will convert your amount of followers into money. Every 500 followers are good for €1. Besides that you can create your own discount codes that you can share with your friends and followers. You earn commission on all the sales that are generated with the codes you share. You can also earn gift card, cash, free products and much more if you take part in missions and other activations that the brands invite you to.

Don’t start to buy followers at unreliable looking sites if you don’t have 500 followers or more, if you have less than 500 followers you can also receive a discount of €20,- when you share #SocialCurrency on Twitter and Facebook.

If it’s for free or with a discount, I will follow and like 
Though I wonder if this is the way all brands should do their marketing and sales. I think it’s cooler to get some advice from friends and the people I follow online then receiving the spam of companies (except if a company really knows how to do their branding). I really must admit that that will be the success of the concept, but if everyone in my social media is starting to become a influencer I think I might get crazy.. it seems like social media is becoming the place where you can be and become very materialistic by sharing the products and services you want to win or get a discount on and where you can influence other people to do the same. If that’s what we want, it’s fine by me, but I’m afraid my social media accounts wouldn’t exist much longer and I believe that some people are with me. Not because of my opinion, but because of the fact that social media is starting to frustrate people because of these kind of posts. Besides that I see a mentality change going on in which we try to be less materialistic and more consciousness, which is hard to do in a world where we more and more influenced by media, brands and even the people we love.

TIMES SQUARE WILL HAVE A (FAUX) FOREST IN THE NEAR FUTURE

The PopUP Forest, a Kickstarter campaign which is launched in March 2015 and funded in April 2015, has the aim to transform New York City’s Time Square into a temporary faux forest.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m-seRYjYehE]

The PopUP Forest is an initiative of Marielle Anzelone, an ecologist with a vision to turn the commodified urban square into an inspiring space filled with shipping containers that house plants, trees and shrubs and is meant to support wildlife and delight urbanites.

Marielle Anzelone: “Did you know that New York City has nature? Nearly 1/8 of the Big Apple is forests, marshes, and meadows, more than any other city in North America. Sadly, many New Yorkers have no idea these places exist. We want people to experience the nature that lives nearby, to know their floral and faunal neighbors. We think PopUP Forest: Times Square is the answer!”

PopUP Forest will give visitors an immersive natural area experience in the most un-natural place on the planet. To create a sensory experience, the cacophony of street noise will be quieted and replaced by a live stream of wildlife sounds from nearby woods and visitors will be guided through woodland walks, interpretive signs, and hands-on educational activities for children. Then – after three weeks – it will all disappear.

Future potential
In today’s world we are getting more aware of the fact that most of our cities aren’t green and sustainable at all. “We have green in our cities, but we do nothing for it” is a sentence which doesn’t only fit New York but many more cities. The PopUP Forest is a initiative which could work very well for a lot of cities. I’m happy to hear that Marielle Anzelone shares this opinion by saying: “If a forest can make it in Times Square, it can make it anywhere”. And it should, if you ask me.
Definitely because research in the journal Nature has shown that there is a strong correlation between abundance of street trees and local residents’ improved sense of well-being.The quality of life of people can be improved by just putting 10 more trees on a city block. How? Well these 10 trees can improve a mental health perception which is comparable to the feeling you receive when you have an increase of $10,000 in annual personal income, moving to a neighborhood with $10,000 higher median income or being 7 years younger.

Besides that, I see a specific urge to be connected with nature, which I like to call ‘Naturelust’, because of the fact that we lost this connection through the years. I believe there is a revaluation going on, in which we try to reconnect with nature and to get nature back in our own lifestyles and surroundings.

I’m very curious how the New Yorkers are going to respond to the PopUP Forest while it’s in their city, but even more when it’s gone. Are they going to miss it and do they want to have it back at Times Square and even at other places in the city? Will New York be an unrecognizable green city in 2025?

HEY YOUNGSTERS, GET YOUR MERMAID DEGREE BEFORE TELLING THE WHOLE INTERNET: “I’M ACTUALLY A MERMAID”

I guess you have heard or have seen some phrases from youngsters like: “Always be yourself, unless you can be a unicorn, then always be a unicorn”. The unicorn thing is not the only kind of fairytale ‘addiction’ or ‘dreamers disease’ youngsters seem to have nowadays. There is also is a kind of a mermaid addiction which can be related to the Seapunk movement.  From youngsters who try to incorporate a ‘sea’ feel to their everyday wear to Emily and Eric who really transformed themselves in mermaid and merman. Nowadays you can even get your mermaid degree at the Mermaid School in Montreal. What’s going on with the mermaid thing?

Seapunk
Seapunk is a microculture which started out with memes on Tumblr. The term ‘seapunk’ is coined by DJ @lilinternet in 2011 who wrote the first reference on Twitter. Nowadays Seapunk can be seen in music, fashion (90’s references), digital imagery (Tumblr, Pinterest) and it even has his own sub-microcultures: Slimepunk and Icepunk.

mermaid Mandy Roos Trichophilia shells seapunk

How to recognize Seapunk?
Seapunk is inspired by the sea and the 90s web culture with his smileys, yin and yan and tie-dye motives. The drivers of Seapunk are mostly youngsters who try to incorporate a ‘sea’ feel to their everyday wear and refer a lot to mermaids and anything else which lives under the sea. Think about: starfish hair clips, skipper’s hats, greenish, blue or purple hair, etc.

Seapunk music can especially be found in the dance scene and is house influenced with new age, hip-hop, chip tune and drum and base. In video clips you can see the whole underwater theme coming back and the 90’s web culture. Conspicuously most of the Seapunk lovers are not really fond of the music.. the style in fashion is more appreciated.

Lifestyle
Emily Keat and Eric Ducharme, two youngsters with one passion: mermaids.

Emily Keat, former model, is Britain’s first professional mermaid. She built her own 6 ft tail and trained for four hours a day to turn herself into a full-time half-woman half-fish performer. She is now specialised in mer-modelling, mer-acting and other related mer-entertainment. “I absolutely love being a mermaid – I couldn’t imagine doing anything else. I watched videos and looked at pictures, and was amazed at how realistic and graceful they are. I have always being interested in mythical creatures. When I was younger I wanted to be a fairy but making a fairy costume didn’t seem practical. I could make some wings that looked really lifelike but they would never be able to fly. With a mermaid tail I would be able to swim like a mermaid.”

After leaving college Emily launched herself as professional mermaid and makes a living from children’s parties and modelling but it isn’t all about just being an Ariël: “Ultimately I want to raise awareness of keeping the seas clean and safe for marine animals. I want to use this as a platform for doing good. I want to educate children about sea pollution in a way that’s fun so they will enjoy it and learn at the same time.”

 

Eric Ducharme appeared inTLC’s My Crazy Obsession. He is obsessed with mermaids for as long as he can remember and took his passion into real life: he became a merman. “It’s a lifestyle. It’s a path in life that I have chosen. Being under water I feel, I’m just totally away from the world. When I put on a tail I feel transformed. I feel like I’m starting to enter into a different world when I hit the water.” He calls it ‘mermaiding,’ his own style of costumed free-diving that he says allows him to escape the world up above. “It’s a fun and exciting physical activity.”

It took Ducharme a really long time to understand his place in life, but today he transformed his beloved hobby into a business. He started a webshop: The Mertailor where he uses silicone, urethanes, and latex rubbers to create shimmering wet suits featuring life-like colors and textures of scales and flowing fins. He has tails that are real as fish you just caught on your boat, which are available to every aspiring mermaid and merman who dreams of life in the sea.

im actually a mermaid

Why do (some) youngsters want to be a mermaid?
I guess it’s a kind of fascination we can all recognize in myths, legends and fairy tales. As a child you must have experienced the amazed feeling while you’ve seen one of the Disney films, experienced a fairy tale in a leisure park or while your parents told you one. Fairy tales have something magical, just like dreams and fantasy, it makes you escape from the ‘real world’ and I guess that’s the thing in the whole Seapunk movement and the wish to be a mermaid. In our childhood we all wanted to live in a fairy tale, while you’re growing up, things are getting more serious and we would like to escape that sometimes. But, don’t take it all to serious when you see quotes like ‘I am actually a mermaid’. Not every youngster wants to transform themselves in a mermaid and the most of the youngsters don’t take the whole Seapunk movement to serious: “It’s just one big inside joke anyways.”

If you want to be a mermaid (for a while), what can you do?
Besides running your own professional business as a mermaid you can also be a mermaid in your leisure time: go for some Fin swimming or get your mermaid degree at the Mermaid school in Montreal!

Fin swimming, it really is a sport
In 2011 Mike Bushell from BBC (UK) made an report of fin swimming, a sport which is attracting a growing number of youngsters into the sport which already arose in the early 1920s in France and Italy. The sport even had his first world championship held in 1976 and it has been featured at the World Games as a trend sport since 1981.

Get your mermaid degree at the Mermaid school in Montreal
In Montreal, Canada they opened the first Mermaid school: AquaSirène where you can find the happiness of your inner mermaid. AquaSirène opens a path between cosplay and sport (cardio) through a shared fondness for mermaids. Marielle Chartier-Hénault, part-time mermaid: “You become like another person. You are not yourself anymore—you’re the mermaid and the mermaid can do anything… You can do the style you want. It’s a magical creature.” 

All classes will be taught by a professional (mermaid). Some courses include mermaid photo shoots, teen aqua mermaid (cardio), kids parties and corporate packages where employees can train to be watermaidens. You can even rent a “landlocked mermaid package”: a human-sized aquarium filled with your very own mermaid.