Meet the newest Walls.io theme, a customisable map for your social wall that shows posts in the location they were posted. Careful readers of this blog will already be vaguely familiar with the new theme.
We first showed a glimpse of the theme when it was merely an experiment the Walls.io team played around with during the company retreat Camp404. And then, just two weeks ago, we posted a showcase blog post about the #IChoseUMich campaign, showing you the map theme in action for the first time.
Map Theme Available for all Pro and Premium Accounts
The Rackham Graduate School had been looking specifically for a map-like theme, so we worked with them to implement the feature for their social wall. #IChoseUMich was the first Walls.io customer to get a shot at the new theme, but now the feature has gone live for all Pro and Premium accounts.
“I’ve been dreaming about a ‘social map’ feature ever since we started with Walls.io. Mapping out social content just feels so natural, given the global nature of social media. I’m excited to finally have this feature available to our users and can’t wait to see how they’ll put it to use.” — Walls.io CEO Michael Kamleitner
At first glance, the new map theme doesn’t look so different from the one created at Camp404, but a lot of development has gone into the new theme.
“I used only the idea and the basic template from the original Camp404 prototype. Basically, it was just an idea that I picked up and developed from scratch into what you can see and use now. It took about a month, but there are still more features and bug fixes being developed and deployed right now.” — Pavol Senko, Walls.io map theme developer
Map Styles and Customisation Options
For now, the map theme is available in 6 different styles that determine the look of the map itself. You can choose the map style in your wall’s design settings.
For the moment you can choose between the following map styles:
- Classic for the classic Google Maps look
- Dark for a night-like blue-tinted map
- Light for an unobtrusive, neutral map
- Greyscale for an all-grey map
- Retro for a low saturation map with low-key browns and blues
- Muted Blue for an all-blue underwater look
The basis for the map styles is Snazzy Maps, a source for community-built map styles for Google Maps.
However, we are working to add more styles to the dropdown. And, if you want to see one particular Snazzy Map as a Walls.io map style, it can’t hurt to drop the team a line and see if you can convince them to add your preferred style. 😉
And like with all other themes, you can, of course, customise your colour scheme to your heart’s content. Change the colour of your header, your background or your tiles and, of course, you can still customise your wall with CSS snippets.
The Problem with Geolocation
In order for posts to show up at specific locations on a social wall using the map theme, the posts have to include geographical information. Currently, the majority of posts doesn’t contain geolocation — simply because, as a matter of safety, social networks don’t query this kind of information automatically. Users have to activate this themselves and most users don’t turn geolocation on for their posts.
For example: In 2015, only 3% of the tweets displayed on Walls.io had coordinates, and the percentage for Facebook was almost zero. The channel with the most geocoded posts for Walls.io in 2015 was Instagram with 32% of the posts including coordinates. Unfortunately, this means that many posts simply won’t appear on a maps-based wall.
How to Make Sure Posts Show up on Your Map Wall
We have a way to remedy the geolocation issue with tweets, at least. Contrary to other networks, Twitter has a location field in user profiles. If someone has specified their location in their profile we can automatically geocode this.
Obviously, if someone has their profile location set to their hometown but is posting tweets that aren’t geocoded from a holiday in New York, their NYC photo will be wrongly mapped to their hometown.
Make it a part of your campaign to ask users to enter their location whenever this is possible, either by disclosing their location in their user profile (Twitter only) or by using the geolocation button for tweets, Facebook posts and Instagram photos.
Here are some examples from the #IChoseUMich campaign where users have activated geolocation for their posts on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook:
FYI: You can also see the location information in the moderate settings of your wall’s backend:
We hope you enjoy the new Walls.io map theme and we can’t wait to see how you’ll use it for your campaigns. And if you’ve got any favourites from Snazzy Maps that you’d just love to see implemented for the map theme, let us know!