Snapchat reveals Emerson geofilter

by David A. Bumpus / Beacon Staff • April 1, 2015

A recent update in the image messaging app Snapchat now allows users who are on Emerson’s Boston campus to visually show their location.

In Snapchat parlance, this is called a geofilter, or a specialized overlay for images that can only be accessed in certain locations. Emerson’s new geofilter is an illustration of a television with “Emerson College” written in purple and yellow font. 

But reactions to the geofilter have been mixed among students, including one who submitted his own version to the company.

Tim Gersten, a freshman visual and media arts major, said he submitted three of his own designs to Snapchat, none of which were accepted by the company. 

“I basically recreated the Emerson banner that’s on all of the buildings,” Gersten said. “They gave me a very generic email response saying, ‘There are multiple reasons why yours may not have been selected, here’s some theoretical reasons why.’”

Through a template on the company’s website, users interested in submitted designs can send their images to Snapchat with their names, where they’re from, and descriptions about why they believe their submissions should be accepted.

Gersten said some of the reasons for any submission getting rejected would include the image being too broad for its location, not visually interesting or useful, or if the image was explicit or not original, according to the email he received from Snapchat. 

Kenzie Woodrow, a sophomore visual and media arts major, said she was happy to see the college get something to represent them on the application, but wishes it was more inclusive. 

“I don’t know why they just made it a TV because that just makes Emerson look like only TV kids. There’s film kids, there’s journalism kids, there’s art kids,” Woodrow said.

Gersten agreed with Woodrow, and said that his submission would be a more suitable option to match up to the Emerson community.

“We should’ve had one that’s more representative of Emerson as what it is,” Gersten said. “When you’re walking down Boylston, you see the banner everywhere, and that’s a symbol of Emerson, rather than just a television saying ‘Emerson College.’”