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Creative hacks to improve your Instagram Stories

Using only Instagram and native phone apps

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Instagram has become an outlet for a lot of creatives over the years. It’s evolved from a platform where we share mundane photos of food and moods to hyper-curated grids — until Instagram Stories was introduced, that is. If you’re one of those people who barely post anything other than stories, here are some easy and not-so-simple ways on how they can look better so you can tell your stories better:

Use the native camera app

Photos taken with the Samsung Galaxy Note 10’s wide angle camera, ultra-wide angle camera, and night mode

Most phones released in 2019 now have at least two different cameras — a combination of wide angle and telephoto, or wide angle and ultra-wide angle. Some even have up to three or four in total. Take advantage of these lenses by taking your photos on the native camera app instead of going straight to Instagram. By using an ultra-wide angle lens you can fit more in your shot without walking several steps backwards. If your phone has a built-in night mode, your low light shots will also turn out much better when you take them using the camera app instead of  Instagram’s camera.

“Wrap” your caption around shapes

If your caption is a bit long, get creative by wrapping them around your subject’s shape. If you have a photo of food or coffee for example, you can type the letters one by one around the plate or cup.

Apply your video camera’s built-in filters

Smartphone cameras are getting more and more features each year. On the Samsung Galaxy Note 10 for example, there’s a feature called Live Focus Video where you get a TV glitch filter. This adds a retro, vaporwave aesthetic to your videos without having to install a third party app.

Add doodles

Make your subject pop by doodling around it. You can add dots, lines, hearts, stars, or broken lines around it — whatever you can think of! Doodles can also add a better narrative to your story than captions when Spider-Man appears out of nowhere for instance.

Animate your captions 

By simply adding small GIFs like stars around your caption, or integrating word GIFs into your caption can make it look like it’s animated. If you have a Samsung Galaxy Note 10, you can also get animated handwriting with the S  Pen using the phone’s native editor whether that’s on a photo or a video.

“Mask” your subject 

Another way to make your subject stand out is by “masking” lines or handwriting behind it. Simply write over your subject using any of the pen shapes, then erase parts of the lines or handwriting to make it seem like it appears over and under the subject.

Mix fonts with your handwriting

Instagram’s font selection may be limited but doesn’t mean your imagination should be. Pick any font to write your caption with — ideally anything but Neon — then pick one word to replace with your handwriting. You can also play around with tracking by simply adding spaces in between letters.

The trick in making your Instagram Stories look better is to not overshare and not overdo any of the effects. Just because you can add GIFs doesn’t mean you should plaster the entire screen with them. While it should feel more raw than your posts, be more purposeful in what you share — always try tell a story whether you’re sharing a photo or a video. It’s called Instagram Stories for a reason.

How do you make your Stories different? Share your tips with us in the comments section below.

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Airbnb partners with the Olympics in 9-year deal

Just in time for Tokyo 2020

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Airbnb and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has signed a new deal to support five Olympics and Paralympics for the next nine years, making the platform a Worldwide Olympic Partner. Apart from the 2020 Games in Tokyo, the partnership covers Beijing 2022, Paris 2024, Milan 2026, and Los Angeles 2028.

According to the IOC, the joint effort will be “in line with the UN Sustainable Development Goals to provide travel options that are economically empowering, socially inclusive, and environmentally sustainable.”

The partnership hopes to minimize construction of new infrastructure for host cities to accommodate not just athletes, staff, and workers, but the surge of tourists as well. This also means generating extra income for new and existing hosts in the local communities during the Games.

IOC President Thomas Bach said that the partnership underpins their strategy to ensure that staging the Olympic Games leaves a legacy for the host community.

Airbnb is also launching a new category of Experiences to be hosted by Olympians themselves. These activities can help provide financial support for athletes while they train, as well as career opportunities even after competing.

Airbnb as a more sustainable option

Airbnb has previously supported Rio 2016 and PyeongChang 2018 as a domestic sponsor. A recent World Economic Forum study found that in Rio, the additional capacity provided through Airbnb was equivalent to 257 hotels. This saved the city unnecessary construction and carbon emissions, while also providing approximately US$ 30 million in direct revenue for hosts. It also generated an estimated total economic activity of US$ 100 million in three weeks.

Similarly, during the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games PyeongChang last year, Airbnb hosts earned approximately US$ 2.3 million collectively by providing accommodation to 15,000 visitors who would have required 46 hotels.

Most recently, Airbnb hosts across Japan welcomed more than 650,000 travellers during the Rugby World Cup, and earned more than US$ 70 million collectively.

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Grab to refund its riders up to PhP 5M

The company was penalized for overcharging

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Do you use Grab daily? If so, then watch out for your Grab credits these coming weeks. An antitrust body in the Philippines ruled that Grab was overpricing its customers and ordered the company to refund its customers.

Philippine Competition Commission (PCC) announced on Monday that it has ordered Grab to return an estimated PhP 5.05 million to its riders. The antitrust body ruled that the company overcharged its car-hailing service from February 2019 to May 2019. So, the next time you open the Grab app, watch out for additional credits. You will receive it within 60 days — the time period PCC allotted for Grab to comply.

The exact reason why PCC found the company overcharging is unknown. However, this is not the first time the company was fined for overcharging. Last July 2018, Grab returned PhP 10 million plus rebate to its customers for overcharging and imposing a PhP 2 waiting time penalty to its riders.

PCC has already set conditions for Grab to avoid overcharging in the future. You are likely to benefit from these conditions, as Grab’s monopoly in Southeast Asia made it increase prices recently. Also, these conditions are meant to improve Grab’s car-hailing service, which is a win-win situation for you, the company, and the government.

However, the PhP 5.05 million fine is just a drop in the bucket for Grab. The company has diversified into new market segments, ensuring more profits and revenue. Plus, a big-name car manufacturer invested in the company last year for improving its car-hailing operations.

SOURCE: CNN Philippines

 

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TikTok will launch a Spotify competitor

Will release in December

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Illustration by MJ Jucutan

For quite a while now, TikTok has captured the short-form social media landscape. Whereas the past had the incredibly popular Vine, the world now has ByteDance’s equally popular platform. However, unlike Vine, TikTok looks like it’s here to stay. And, because of TikTok’s success, ByteDance can already expand beyond its niche.

Reportedly, ByteDance is currently negotiating content deals with major music labels including Sony Music, Universal Music, and Warner Music. The deal supposedly relates to an upcoming, still-unnamed music streaming service. The developer is already amassing a workable cache of songs to include.

Besides the music content, the service will also include a smaller short video archive. The short videos will play over the interface while users search for more music. Additionally, users can sync the music to the videos.

According to the same report, ByteDance will launch the service as early as next month. It will come out first in smaller markets — like India and Indonesia — before a wider worldwide release.

Of course, the service’s popularity is still in question. TikTok is currently considered a security threat in the US.

As for price, the service will cost less than the world’s most popular option, Spotify. However, this alleged price compares Spotify’s current US price of US$ 10. (As such, this doesn’t mean much since Spotify costs less depending on region and package.)

SEE ALSO: Spotify extends free trial to 3 months

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