I Sent All My Text Messages in Calligraphy for a Week

I love this! Excerpt from this article:

I decided to blend a newfound interest in calligraphy with my lifelong passion for written correspondence to create a new kind of text messaging. The idea: I wanted to message friends using calligraphic texts for one week. The average 18-to-24-year-old sends and gets something like 4,000 messages a month, which includes sending more than 500 texts a week, according to Experian. The week of my experiment, I only sent 100. (I was 24 at the time.)

Before I started, I established rules for myself: I could create only handwritten text messages for seven days, absolutely no using my phone’s keyboard. I had to write out my messages on paper, photograph them, then hit “send.” I didn’t reveal my plan to my friends unless asked, and I received a variety of responses.

Some people were stunned…

 

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Why we should stop using full stops – period

text-full-stop.jpg

Excerpt from this article (and see this post for the New York Times’s take on it as well):

Have you ever watched parents try to text with their children? One hilarious type of misunderstanding goes like this:

Parent: I am waiting for you in the car.

Child: r u mad?

Parent: I am not mad.

Parent: I am telling you I am waiting.

Child: what?????

The poor mom or dad doesn’t understand one of the cardinal rules of texting, which is that you don’t use periods, period. Not unless you want to come off as cold, angry or passive-aggressive…

The period, meanwhile, has become the evil twin of the exclamation point. It’s now an optional mark that adds emphasis — but a nasty, dour sort of emphasis. “It is not necessary to use a period in a text message, so to make something explicit that is already implicit makes a point of it,” Geoffrey Nunberg, a linguist at the University of California at Berkeley, told the New York Times.

The Last Emoji

sprint last emoji

Excerpt from this article:

Sprint has unveiled the ultimate emoji as a statement against texting while driving.

…According to Adweek, Sprint and Alma chose Miami as the location for the sculpture, and placed it there April 29, because Florida remains one of the few states that does not prohibit texting while driving as a primary offense. This means that texting drivers can only be issued citations if they’ve been pulled over for another traffic offense.

R U There?

Crisis Text Line has received five million texts, providing a unique corpus of data.

Excerpt from this article:

A person can contact Crisis Text Line without even looking at her phone. The number—741741—traces a simple, muscle-memory-friendly path down the left column of the keypad. Anyone who texts in receives an automatic response welcoming her to the service. Another provides a link to the organization’s privacy policy and explains that she can text “STOP” to end a conversation at any time. Meanwhile, the incoming message appears on the screen of Crisis Text Line’s proprietary computer system. The interface looks remarkably like a Facebook feed—pale background, blue banner at the top, pop-up messages in the lower right corner—a design that is intended to feel familiar and frictionless. The system, which receives an average of fifteen thousand texts a day, highlights messages containing words that might indicate imminent danger, such as “suicide,” “kill,” and “hopeless.”

Within five minutes, one of the counsellors on duty will write back… It is important to type carefully. In text messages sent to friends, typos can be an indication of intimacy. But a typo appearing on the cell-phone screen of a distressed teen-ager can undermine the sense of authority he’s looking for. “You have to train yourself not to hit that return button automatically,” a sixty-year-old counsellor from California told me. (Crisis Text Line counsellors are free to give a real or assumed first name to people who text in.) It is also regarded as a mistake to embrace teen-age patois too enthusiastically. One volunteer told me that she tries not to use acronyms. “I sometimes worry that it would come across as too ‘Oh, I got you!’ ” she said. Neutral language allows the texter to feel anonymous. These people have contacted a stranger for a reason. They aren’t looking for friendship.

Breadbcrumbing: The Agony of the Digital Tease

Illustration by Tom Bloom

Excerpt from this article:

There was the breadcrumb dropped on Valentine’s Day, by the ex-girlfriend of my friend. The two women hadn’t spoken in months, after a prolonged breakup, and the ex was now seeing somebody new. Yet there she was, on the day of Hallmark-themed romance, “liking” my friend’s Instagram photo … from three weeks ago. Which meant she had to have been scrolling through her feed.

There was the friend, a digital strategist who, every few days, would receive a “sup” from a recruiter, except that the recruiter would never set up a time to meet. Once, my friend returned to his desk to find a “failed Google hangout” notification from this person, to which the recruiter later messaged to apologize for the “butt dial.”

…For anyone who’s ever dated, or maintained any kind of relationship, in the digital age, you have probably known a breadcrumber. They communicate via sporadic noncommittal, but repeated messages — or breadcrumbs — that are just enough to keep you wondering but not enough to seal the deal (whatever that deal may be).

Breadcrumbers check in consistently with a romantic prospect, but never set up a date. They pique your interest, of that prospective job, perhaps, by reminding you repeatedly that it exists, but never set up the interview.

…Like most of today’s torturous microcommunications, we have technology to thank for breadcrumbs. Sure, they may have existed a decade ago (a nod on the street, a “what’s up” in the hallway — these were technically breadcrumbs, right?) but they didn’t have quite the same “desperate wondering about what someone means,” Ms. Simmons said.

“These are connections, not conversations,” said Sherry Turkle, a professor at M.I.T.

 

 

Period. Full Stop. Point. Whatever It’s Called, It’s Going Out of Style

“We are at a momentous moment in the history of the full stop,” said David Crystal, who has written more than 100 books on language Credit Roberto Ricciuti/Getty Images

Excerpt from this article:

The period — the full-stop signal we all learn as children, whose use stretches back at least to the Middle Ages — is gradually being felled in the barrage of instant messaging that has become synonymous with the digital age

…The conspicuous omission of the period in text messages and in instant messaging on social media, he says, is a product of the punctuation-free staccato sentences favored by millennials — and increasingly their elders — a trend fueled by the freewheeling style of Facebook, WhatsApp and Twitter

…“In an instant message, it is pretty obvious a sentence has come to an end, and none will have a full stop,” he added “So why use it?”

In fact, the understated period — the punctuation equivalent of stagehands who dress in black to be less conspicuous — may have suddenly taken on meanings all its own

Increasingly… the period is being deployed as a weapon to show irony, syntactic snark, insincerity, even aggression

If the love of your life just canceled the candlelit, six-course, home-cooked dinner you have prepared, you are best advised to include a period when you respond “Fine.” to show annoyance

 

 

TED Talk: You Don’t Need an App For That

After sharing a link to my stories about creative uses of technology in developing and emerging markets, a colleague sent through a link to this great TED talk: “While the rest of the world is updating statuses and playing games on smartphones, Africa is developing useful SMS-based solutions to everyday needs, says journalist Toby Shapshak. In this eye-opening talk, Shapshak explores the frontiers of mobile invention in Africa as he asks us to reconsider our preconceived notions of innovation.”

Thanks Chris T. for the link!

https://embed-ssl.ted.com/talks/toby_shapshak_you_don_t_need_an_app_for_that.html