FreakyFriday: Weird of the Day – Let the Strangeness That is the Presidential Inauguration Commence

By: iCopywriter Blogger Alex Dalenberg

Regardless of your politics, mega-events like next week’s Presidential Inauguration tend to bring out the weird. At its noblest, the inauguration is an inspiring symbol of the grandeur of the Republic and the peaceful transition of power from one administration to the next.

But lest we forget, it’s also a giant party. Drunken revelers famously trashed the White House at Andrew Jackson’s, although history has long forgotten who committed the first presidential party foul. For real history geeks, the Senate website has a good rundown of inaugural highlights. My favorite so far: President John Quincy Adams’ precedent-setting decision to wear long trousers rather than knee breeches to his 1825 inauguration.

This year, of course, features its own quirks. Salon has a good slideshow of the most random inaugural souvenirs, including your very own inaugural dog sweater. In more urgent news, there is a looming shortage of Port-A-Potties for this year’s festivities.

And here we were thinking the Fiscal Cliff was a crisis.

But the winner for inaugural weirdness goes hands down to Victoria Devine, who is pioneering the job of social media butler as part of a lavish hotel inauguration package. The job is what you might expect. Devine tweets, sends Facebook updates and Instagrams the entire weekend – although hopefully no anguished statuses about searching the National Mall for a Port-A-Potty.

Although, come to think of it, that’s not a bad opportunity for crowdsourcing. Or maybe some kind of geo-tagging app.

Startup wizards, you know what to do.

Have you checked out iCopywriter lately?

Photo Credit: joewcampbell


FreakyFriday: Weird of the Day – Instagram Knows Where You Live, Eat Dinner, Get Drinks and Take Pictures of Kittens

By: iCopywriter Senior Editor, Heather Price-Wright

Big Brother knows exactly where you take oversaturated, filtered pictures of your dinner and your dog. And he wants to tell all your friends (not to mention basically the whole smartphone-using world) about it.

This week, Instagram, the photo editing and sharing app recently acquired by Facebook, rolled out a major new feature in its latest update. It’s called Photo Maps, and it’s a sort of map-based album that displays all of users’ geo-tagged photos pinned to the location where they were taken. Exactly where they were taken. To the point that an interested party (cough STALKER cough cough HOME INVADER cough) could pretty easily discern exactly where you live and spend time on a day-to-day basis, and where you go to take those epic, #nofilter sunset pics.

Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom told The Huffington Post that he wants to “make geo-date more prevalent.”

“We want 90 percent of photos to be geo-tagged because we can do more powerful things with that data,” he added.

All we can say to that quote is, um, creepy! What “powerful things” does Systrom see himself doing with data about where people take pictures, other than selling that data to advertisers or using it for market research? No, thank you.

Here’s what you need to know about the new update:

  • You CAN opt out. And to Instagram’s credit, you can do so pretty easily. When you update the app, there are multiple prompts asking you whether you want to add some or all of your photos to your Photo Map. You can also go back and remove photos from the map if you don’t want, for example, pictures from inside your house appearing.
  • If you do opt out, geo-tagging information will be lost for the photos you don’t choose to display on your Photo Map (at least, that’s what the prompts within the apps say). In other words, you can’t keep the geo-tagged data without displaying your photos on a Photo Map.
  • The geo-information gathered about your photos is pretty specific, so if you don’t want Instagram users to know at least the neighborhoods, if not the specific addresses, where your photos are taken, better to opt out.
  • You can also make your Instagram profile private, if you like the Photo Map feature (even we’ll admit it’s visually pretty cool) but don’t want users other than your friends to see it. Users will have to ask to follow your feed, and you can either approve or deny them access.

Have you checked out lately?