FreakyFriday: Weird of the Day – Oh, the Things You can Print

They say you can find anything on the Web. Thanks to 3D printing, that’s truer than ever. The kinds of stuff you can download just got a lot cooler and, in some cases, much freakier.

For the uninitiated, 3D printing involves laying down successive layers of material – often plastic or a liquid resin – to create solid, three-dimensional objects. For now, these printers are mostly the domain of the tech-savvy DIY and Maker crowds because they’re great for rapid prototyping and other design projects, but the time is probably not far away when affordable desktop 3D printers will be available.

Put simply, sometime in the near future, it probably won’t be that unusual to print an iPhone case. Early adopters are already doing it.

Clients take note: If your business makes something – as in an actual, physical thing – 3D printing has the potential to change your industry. Forever. I’m talking as much as blogs and social media have changed this former print newspaper reporter’s trade.

How and when this happens are up for debate, but there are plenty of innovative companies in this space. MakerBot and Shapeways are two notable 3D printing companies based in New York.

But enough about the business end of things. It’s FreakyFriday, and you were promised freakiness. Well, 3D printing can deliver on that front, right in your home, in successive layers of resin. Here are three of the coolest, weirdest and/or freakiest things being done on 3D printers.

1) Your face. Or your mom’s face. Anybody’s, really.

This one probably wins. Tech blog Gizmodo had an article this week about Brooklyn artist Heather Dewey-Hagborg, who is printing theoretical 3D faces of strangers from their discarded DNA. That is, she’s lifting genetic material from cigarette butts, wads of gum and stray hairs found on the streets of New York, creating rough likenesses via computer based on ethnicity, age, gender and other factors and then printing them out.

And you thought Facebook’s facial recognition was freaky.

2) Magazines.

As in high-capacity gun magazines. Austin-based Defense Distributed is spearheading what it calls the Wiki Weapons project to develop printable firearms and ammunition. This week, Talking Points Memo reported on its IdeaLab blog that the organization demonstrated that it had successfully created a working, printable gun magazine be named in honor of New York’s pro-gun-control governor, Andrew Cuomo.

3) Human organs.

This one is still down the road, but, according to Mashable, Scottish scientists are working to create a 3D printer capable of replicating human organs via stem cells. Of course, it’s easier said than done, but for lack of a better sentence: Wow – science!

Does Your Brand Need a Social Media Mascot?

By: iCopywriter Blogger, Kimberly Crossland

Social media is all the rage in today’s marketing world. It’s free (and who doesn’t love free), it takes only as much time to implement as you put into it and if you create amazing content that people love, your fans do all the work for you.

Sounds easy enough, right?

But there’s more to social media marketing than meets the eye. While it is truly easy, and gives many brands the legs they so desire through viral sharing of their blogs and articles, it is also seen as a platform for people to converse, instead of be sold things. Companies are inherently seen as trying to sell their product or service, which of course they are. But the way in which they go about this on social media has taken a unique and fun turn for marketers.licensed inflatables

Now, companies are using actual personalities to brand themselves. Instead of a logo, people are “friending” a familiar face. It personalizes a corporate entity and can be the easy fix to getting potential customers to work with people instead of large, intimidating enterprises.

Here are a few examples of company personalities on social media that you have most likely seen:

  • Flo’ from Progressive – Her bubbly personality on the television commercials and radio has spilled over onto the Progressive page. Now, fans of Progressive get their chance to get a quote from the ever-excited Flo, who is so clearly passionate about saving you money on your insurance.
  • The M&M family – Every color has its own personality, which we have come to know and love over the years from advertising. Now, on the M&M Facebook page, fans can interact with these beloved characters. Most recently, Ms. Brown is authoring posts with her now well-known charm and sass that the nation seems to love.
  • Dos Equis Most Interesting Man in the World – This is naturally a personality that anyone would love to have, and one that has caught on rapidly. The brand entertains its fan base with information about what this man can overcome simply by being amazing. And more than that, fans put up their ideas of what the most interesting man in the world can accomplish. The character is engaging and memorable for the next time they are out at the bar or buying drinks.
  • Planters Mr. Peanut – The brand has chosen to use its classic top hat-wearing, sophisticated peanut as its social media mascot. From the small peanut point of view, Mr. Peanut happily entertains fans with his information and wit about all things from golf to contests.

Personalities and mascots bring out the fun behind a brand and allow companies to create voices of their own that are unique. Memorable and fun, this is becoming the hot way the social media world is headed to encourage engagement.

What are you doing to promote your brand on social media?

Have you checked out lately?