The Plastics Revolution

Instagram is all about still photos, right? Or is it? An Indie band from Mexico, The Plastics Revolution, has shown that Instagram can be used for more than just still shots. The band has created a stop-motion music video for their song “Invasión” using photos they filtered through Instagram. Using 1,905 still shots, the photographer then put the stills together to create this vintage-inspired music video:

Nicely done, isn’t it? Perhaps the underwater shots were not taken with an iphone, but the capability to run any photo through Instagram, whether or not it was taken with the app, makes this video not only possible, but successful. Personally, I love the look of Instagram filters. It could be my love for vintage items, or just the historic look that the photos take on when using the filters, but either way, this method is a creative way to show the band’s music to the world while adding visual interest with the stop-motion method and the filtered still shots. What will you do with Instagram today?

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Kings and Queens

All the talk about Thanksgiving has inspired me to post about what many people focus on during this holiday: food. What is your favorite Thanksgiving food? Mine has to be my grandmother’s homemade turkey and dressing- there’s nothing like it! I dream about this dish all year long, and sometimes she even makes it for me when it’s not Thanksgiving because she knows I love it so much.

Social media has been full of posts about Thanksgiving this month, especially today since the holiday is tomorrow. I came across an infographic in an article on Mashable about the most talked about Thanksgiving foods, so let’s take a look:

 

Who knew people loved green beans so much? Well, while great food is one part of the holidays, my favorite part is getting to spend time with family, especially seeing certain family members that I often miss during other times of the year. Thinking about the things I am thankful for reminded me of the people I have met in Haiti, New York City, Knoxville, and the billions of strangers around the world who don’t have these things. They don’t have a shelter where they feel safe all the time, or more food than they could ever eat before it goes bad, or even a closet overflowing with clothes that they don’t even wear (and in case you still don’t get it, I have way too much stuff). I know that Thanksgiving and Christmas are often a time when people are more conscious of the poor, but my hope is that I can make a difference in those people’s lives no matter what time of year it is, and that I can inspire others to do the same. I have mentioned the The Bowery Mission in New York in other posts, and recently they have been posting on Facebook and Twitter about the donations they received after hurricane Sandy, as well as donations for Thanksgiving. KARM here in Knoxville has also been posting about the donations they have received for Thanksgiving. Seeing these posts makes me want to help those in need, but also reminds me that I need to do a better job of being faithful in helping the poor no matter what time of year it happens to be, because many of these people will be forgotten once the first of the year comes around. I don’t want these people to be forgotten. I want these people to be loved and cared for more than I want that homemade turkey and dressing from my grandmother on Thanksgiving. I want them to feel like kings and queens, not just for a day, but every day. I guess my point is that I am happy that Americans like to help the poor during the holiday season, but I would encourage you to think about those in need year-round! Go help those in need and watch how it changes your life. So go eat some great food, help some people out who might not be having a great holiday season, and be thankful for the things you have been blessed with!

Check this music video that is part of a project to help those in Haiti:

Too Much of a Good Thing

As an Advertising student, social media is a huge part of not only my personal life, but my college and future career. Certain people in the School of Advertising are even pushing for the social media class I’m currently enrolled in to be a mandatory part of the Advertising curriculum. Social media is the fastest growing form of technology in history, and it is an enormous resource of all types of news. Hurricane Sandy is the greatest and most recent example of how social media is becoming a necessary way for people to communicate. I posted about Sandy a few days ago, and even recommended a few Twitter accounts to follow for information about how the restoration process is coming along, and how you can help.

I could talk all day long about the great things that social media has done, but can there be too much of this good thing? Social media can be a distraction, even for those whose job it is to keep track of certain accounts. When I took a look at Mashable today, an article titled “Social Media Distractions Cost U.S. Economy $650 Billion” caught my eye. Check out this infographic about how social media can be a distraction:

Oh Sandy

As I watched enormous hurricane Sandy move up toward the Northeastern coastline this week, I thought of all the places I have visited in that part of the country. My most favorite, by far, is New York City as I have mentioned in a previous post. Seeing the darkness in the image below (South of 34th Street) reminded me of the great power and unpredictability of super storms such as Sandy. New York is a city that I think of as incredibly powerful and able to withstand anything, but it was pushed to its limits during this storm. Mayor Bloomberg said the following when he addressed New Yorkers Tuesday morning, “MTA CEO Joe Lhota has described this as the worst disaster the agency has seen in the 108 years the subways have been running…We expected an unprecedented storm impact here in New York City, and that’s what we got. So while the worst of the storm has passed, conditions are still dangerous.” The latest updates from the mayor can be found on his website at mikebloomberg.com.      

Places that used to be so recognizable like the Carey Tunnel below are now covered with water and debris. The New York Times has been an incredible resource during this time, especially its continually updated section called Assessing Damage from Hurricane Sandy. This article and others have explained that officials believe that it could take up to five days to get the full transit system running again. Water must be pumped out of 50 miles of tunnels, and the electrical system must be fully checked and approved before the trains can begin running again. I wish I could be there to take part in the restoration of this great city, and I am very grateful that I was protected from this horrible storm by living inland.

The New York Times storm assessment section has made an update with the following photos of crews working to pump the water out of the city and back to where it belongs:

You can follow @MikeBloomberg, @NYTMetro, and @nytimes on Twitter to get updates on the restoration of New York City and surrounding areas. The photo below was tweeted by Diane Sawyer Tuesday morning as an image of hope for the areas impacted by the storm. As Mayor Bloomberg stated, “New Yorkers are resilient and we have seen an enormous outpouring of support from people eager to volunteer, donate and help out.”

We Are the Future

The headline “Teen Takes Educators to Twitter School” caught my eye on Mashable today. The article is written about a 15-year-old girl named Adora who spoke at an educational conference in front of 3,000 educators in Austin, Texas this month. This teen has also spoken at Mashable Connect, and has given a Ted Talk – all before the age of 16. The positive response that she received from her audience (on Twitter), exemplifies educators who see the importance of not only listening to their students, but also continually updating their teaching methods by educating themselves:

This semester especially I have been told by my professors that my generation has something that older generations do not have: social media knowledge and skills. This knowledge gives us an edge in the professional world. Recently, I have been working with a local non-profit on developing a social media plan, and I quickly learned that social media is a foreign language to those who have not grown up with it or need it in their jobs. Though they seem like just another normal part of my life, I hope that these “special skills” that I have will help me in the work world.

 

Keep Your Eyes Open

Tomorrow I get to spend part of my day with some amazing kids who I have gotten to know over the past few years. These kids live in a government housing project here in my city, and I look forward to seeing them each weekend for soccer. Sometimes I get to see them during the week, or outside of soccer. It really makes my day to get to love on these kids, and I don’t say that to make myself look good.

I can’t believe that there was a time that I didn’t even know that this place existed. I grew up in a blessed home with everything I ever needed. It was not until late in my high school years that I really got to experience first-hand what it looked like to be in need. I’m not going to preach about the incredible amount of poverty in our world, but I would actually like to be selfish and attempt to reflect on the blessings that I have gained through pouring myself out to others who haven’t been as blessed as I have.

I used to be afraid to step out of my middle class world and get my hands dirty by helping others. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to help them, but I was afraid of what would happen if I did- would they be offended that this rich girl was being charitable? But I quickly learned that it is not about me. I’d like to repeat that- it is not about me. Whoever I have been in contact with, whether it is playing soccer with kids in a government housing project, or holding dirty naked babies in Haiti, the moment I let go and just loved these people I realized that they were just that- people. And what they wanted from me wasn’t perfection, it was love. It really didn’t matter whether or not what I was doing to help them was perfect. The fact that I was there to love them seemed to be all that mattered. And yes, giving water and clothing to a child who had none was a huge blessing to them, but holding them was what made the difference. I have learned a very important lesson over the past few years, and this lesson has been resurfacing in my life the past few weeks: life is messy, so get your hands dirty and care about people! This is the only life you have. Do you want to look back with regret because you were afraid of getting too involved? I have decided that life is not long enough to sit around and debate about whether or not it’s worth it to put yourself out there and love people who might not love you back. So keep your eyes open for opportunities and see what happens. I can guarantee you’ll be surprised…

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

A picture is worth a thousand words, right? A charity called WaterAid thinks so. Yesterday, Mashable tweeted an article from its website about the nonprofit. WaterAid is based in the UK, and is currently working in Malawi to dig over 40 wells and to train over 2,000 hygiene educators. One in eight kids in this East African country dies before their fifth birthday, and many of these deaths are caused by water-related diseases. WaterAid has taken on the challenge of not only providing clean water, but also of educating the people there about germs and important hygiene information.

So what does all this have to do with pictures? Well, WaterAid and their Big Dig campaign have decided to use Instagram (@thebigdig) to document the work being done in Malawi. The UK government has promised to match each donation given to this project, so the organization wants to show, instead of tell, the world about the amazing things that clean water can do.

I typically think of Instagram as a place for people to connect through images, but I had never thought of using it as a platform for making the world aware of important events such as The Big Dig. Be a part of the conversation on Instagram @thebigdig, or on Twitter at  #thebigdig. I think this could be an effective new way to connect with people about more than our personal lives, but also about different causes like WaterAid. What an incredible, easy, and interesting way to “show and tell” the world without the traditional body of text!