I’m Not Texting. I’m Taking Notes.

Excerpt from this article:

As I headed to the bathroom feeling on top of my advisory board game, Craig pulled me aside and said, “Listen, you’re doing great, but I want you to be super-successful here.”


“Many board members noticed that you were on your phone a lot,” he said. “If you can hold out on texting friends or checking your Twitter feed until the breaks, that would be great.”

Mission failed. Now I did feel like an idiot.

But I was also quite angry. The thing is, I hadn’t checked my Twitter feed for over two hours. I’d been taking notes.

…What really upset me at the meeting was the assumption that by pulling out my phone, I wasn’t paying attention. I’m a digital native. My friends and I have only known a world where phones are smart. My iPhone is a computer, and it’s natural to take notes on it.

I thought I was being diligent, yet they thought I was being rude. I even thought I was being efficient by quickly looking up something online and not missing a beat, and they thought I was playing video games. Clearly, my generation cannot assume the older generations know how we use technology.


Happier Podcast: The Challenges of Being Distracted by Your Phone

This episode of Gretchen Rubin’s Happier Podcast recently had an interesting discussion of the misinterpretations of people’s behaviours based on mobile device usage. Starting around the 15 minute mark, they share stories like: someone thought another parent was being rude at a presentation because they kept looking at their phone, but that person was actually using it to take notes. Or another person kept looking at their watch, but they weren’t checking to see how the time was dragging; instead they were waiting for an important message via their Apple Watch. They recommend warning someone if you’re expecting a call, “my babysitter might be calling me, so excuse me if I glance at my phone.”



How Do Olds Use Emoji? Incorrectly, According to Wired.


Excerpt from this article:

Alongside the long piece, doggedly and awesomely reported by Mary H. K. Choi, Wired also ran a glossary of emoji and what they signify to flirtatious teenagers. If you are old and out of touch like me, you will want to take a look and comprehend, perhaps for the first time, the magnificent spuriousness of all your texting assumptions.

…For one thing, Choi reports that the blushing smiley face actually conveys polite romantic refusal. She glosses it as “Hi. Um. Not interested. Sorry? Sorry!” This was news to my crack team of old person emoji decoders (age range mid-20s to 40s), who use the blushing smiley mostly to express that they are “flattered” (but not in a romantic context), “smug,” or “satisfied.” I, 28, personally deploy the face with friends as a more intimate and affectionate alternative to the simple smile. Another twentysomething in an office Slack channel sees it as a “cuter” version of the traditional smiley.

…Another surprising fact: For high-schoolers, the little monkey with his hands over his eyes (“see no evil”) communicates bashfulness, either a shy acknowledgment of someone else’s suggestive comment or an attempt to soften your own…  But how do the olds use the “see no evil” monkey? “I think it means ‘Oh no,’ ” offered a 28-year-old friend via text. “Or maybe ‘I shouldn’t have seen that.’ ” “I can’t look,” was another suggestion. “Embarrassment” was a third. One woman in her 30s said she could imagine entrusting to the monkey a conspiratorial assurance: “I didn’t see anything.” (Person A: “I just found $5 and pocketed it right away.” Person B: [see no evil monkey.])

Investigating the Potential for Miscommunication Using Emoji

Example text conversation showing emoji miscommunication

Excerpt from this article:

Hey emoji users: Did you know that when you send your friend smiley 1  on your Nexus, they might see smiley 2 on their iPhone? …This type of thing can happen for all emoji… In a paper (download) that will be officially published at AAAI ICWSM in May, we show that this problem can cause people to misinterpret the emotion and the meaning of emoji-based communication, in some cases quite significantly…

What’s more, our work also showed that even when two people look at the exact same emoji rendering.., they often don’t interpret it the same way, leading to even more potential for miscommunication.



Justine Sacco Is Good at Her Job, and How I Came To Peace With Her

Justine Sacco Is Good at Her Job, and How I Came To Peace With Her

Excerpt from this article:

One year ago today, Justine Sacco was the global head of communications for the digital media conglomerate IAC. Getting on a plane for a trip to South Africa, to visit family, she published a tweet: “Going to Africa. Hope I don’t get AIDS. Just kidding. I’m White!”

… Twitter is a fast machine that almost begs for misunderstanding and misconstrual—deliberate misreading is its lubricant. The same flatness of affect that can make it such a weird and funny place also makes it a tricky and dangerous one. Jokes are complicated, context is hard. Rage is easy.

… This is the one thing no one in public relations… has figured out, or is smart enough to put into practice. When you fuck up on the internet, do nothing. Say nothing. Remain motionless as best you can, no matter how much you want to explain, or argue, or contextualize. Shut up! Just shut up.