Snapping Your Way Around Evanston

Geofilters: Gotta catch 'em all!

by Nicholas Hagar

A geofilter is supposed to capture the essence of a place. It tells you the nature and personality of its location in one image. But sometimes these marks fall short of becoming the icons they were meant to be. Here are some geofilters from around campus and Evanston, along with what (we think) they say about the places they represent.

Allison Residential Community

"Check out this quirky community."

Your cool dad saw The Grand Budapest Hotel on opening day in an arthouse theater. He's streamed a couple episodes of New Girl on his Roku box. He's never been to Portland, but he's heard all about it. At this point, he's pretty confident he gets this "twee" thing all the kids are talking about, and he just learned how to use Photoshop. This geofilter is his masterpiece.

The Barn

"This is our nickname and we've committed to it fully."

819 Gaffield seems like it would have an inhouse shock jock. He goes around yelling "Welcome to 8-1-9 THE BARN" a lot, and maybe he has a sound effects machine that makes farm animal noises. It also seems like one of those sound effects is a rooster call, and he uses it to wake everyone up in the morning while rolling around in a pile of hay. Because 819 Gaffield has really dived headfirst into being called "The Barn."

Bobb Residence Hall

"We're definitely not hiding something."

This is the geofilter of a grocery store that's trying too hard. This is the geofilter of a man named Bobb Hall, who works in accounting and asks about expense reports. What this definitely is not is the geofilter of Northwestern's Bobb Hall, the dorm of legendary debauchery. Bobb is clearly trying to hide what it's really about, but it's doing so like the criminal who swears that the stolen money isn't buried in the desert. It is buried in the desert.

Noyes Street Eateries

"Please help us."

Everything was going smoothly for the person who designed this geofilter. The street signs were looking great, the lettering was in place, but when it came time to bring the concept home, things went south. "Add a hamburger," they said. They probably didn't say "Make it blue," or "Put a fish skeleton (Candy wrapper? Tiny missile?) between the buns." But someone thought these touches would really add something, and Snapchat agreed.

The Palace

"Prepare to be disappointed."

The Palace's geofilter evokes images of marble columns, majestic sculptures and raised, Pantheon-esque ceilings. Its name conjures up thoughts of royalty, power and lavish wealth. This is a sad misrepresentation of what is, in reality, an off-campus fraternity house with amenities that probably start and end at basic utilities. For a more accurate representation, swap out the air of grandeur for one of drunken musk.