How and why did the period get so pissed off?
In New York? Don’t miss it.
The Emoji Art & Design Show
An exhibition put together by New York’s Eyebeam in December is looking for emoji-related artwork:
In today’s visually oriented culture, which increasingly communicates through images rather than text, emoji comprise a kind of “visual vernacular,” a language that conveys humor, ambiguity and personality as well as meaning.
This visual form of communication isn’t necessarily new—from cave paintings, to hieroglyphics, to religious and mythological symbols encoded in traditional painting and sculpture, we’ve been communicating through images since the dawn of mankind—but its dominance in culture today, especially among millennials, seems to indicate a greater shift in our approach to self-expression.
If you’re an artist or designer working with emoji, send us your work. We’re looking for a diverse array of interpretations and appropriations of the emoji that exist both on and offline. The show welcomes new and existing works from a variety of mediums ranging from net art, to painting and sculpture, video and performance.
You can find out more about the show and how to submit at the project’s website here
The most rewarding phases of my life have stemmed from this simple mantra.
I have a confession to make. I have never had a five-year plan. I’ve read GTD and the Action Method. I know all about the importance of setting goals and formulating an actionable plan to get reach those goals. Plans, I know, can be highly effective; certainly they can be motivating. But sometimes a plan is an unnecessary detour. Sometimes a five year plan is just that — a plan. Sometimes you just have to show up.
In my experience, showing up has proven to be 100% more effective than planning from afar. Many of my friends have pretty serious life plans. Work in finance X years before running for office. Acquire X level of leadership and Y higher education degrees before launching a startup or non-profit in X sector. Get X degree, work on X political campaigns, join the White House Staff by age X.
I have no doubt my friends will be successful (love you guys!), but that sort of life-planning isn’t for me. I start to compare. I over-think it. I get distracted by what I think I shouldbe doing in the future, rather than what I want to be doing, right now!That sort of planning leaves me feeling anxious, not productive.
I don’t think we have to micromanage the future if we can recognize the overall picture. IMO, we (Americans? Millenials?) tend to confuse plans with goals. We use plans as a crutch. They can be useful, sure, but they can also provide a false sense of security. It sounds good to have a plan. It sounds like we are getting things done, even though we are just talking about what needs to be done. Plans are easy to hide behind.
I’d rather follow a hunch. Scratch an itch. Go with my gut, and just show up. The best moves I have made in life so far have been a direct result of just showing up. That has always been more productive for me than any exercise in establishing a five+ year plan.
My non-planning has taken me from Cambridge to Paris, to Baltimore, to Paris, to New York, to San Francisco. I graduated college in 2008, just as the economy began to take a tumble for the worse. I had a vague, romantic notion about living in France and working in the art world. I didn’t speak a word of French but spent my senior year of college reading the great 19th-century French authors (in translation, the horrors!) and writing about French painters of the same century. My grand one-year-max plan was to snag a traveling fellowship, move to Paris, and spend a year researching artist studios and maisons littéraires — the live and work spaces of some of France’s greatest creatives.
It was a great plan, but I didn’t get the fellowship. I could have given up the idea, but I decided to go to France anyway and figure it out when I got there. I took a French class, limited my American friends to two California girls, and insisted on practicing broken French with anyone who would listen until someone would hire me. I got a job at a gallery a month into my French class and spent one of the best years of my life as an art dealer in Paris. Thankfully, no one ever told me it might not work out; I was either too naive or too confident to think failure was an option, so I just showed up and worked it out.
In 2009, I did have a plan, a six-year-one, to be exact. I left my petite chambre in France and returned home to the States for a PhD program. 2.5 years and 2 Masters degrees later, I quit my program. This was the single most important decision I’ve made in my professional life to date; I would still be a graduate student today had I not allowed myself to quit and step back from the path to academia. (I could write a whole blog post on the value of quitting.)
I quit not knowing entirely what I was looking for next, but I had a hunch the NYC startup scene was where I ought to be. I had grown bored with the gallery world but heard whisperings that something interesting in art and tech might be happening there. Would that mean working with creative coders? Digital marketing in museums? Working at an e-commerce for art startup? I didn’t know, but I wouldn’t know any better from reading blog posts. I packed my bags, sold some belongings, and moved to New York. I hit the pavement and lined up informational interviews, chatting with founders about what they were building and how they were building it. Most of them thought I was wildly over and under-qualified at once. (So you have two Masters degrees…in the humanities?) A month later, I expanded my search beyond art-related startups and found a great match with a small startup named Sonar. It is now defunct but was an incredibly formative experience.
Last month, after two years of the startup grind in New York, I packed two bags, put the rest of my belongings in storage, and bought a one-way ticket to San Francisco. Maybe it’s a function of getting older, maybe it’s hearing constant chatter about goal-setting in the blogosphere and among my group of friends, maybe it’s having gone to my five-year reunion and seeing where in life my peers are, but this move was harder to make. For the first time, I felt like I needed “A Plan.” I thought about trying to get a job from New York — I built a funnel, tapped my NYC network for connections on the West Coast, but progress was slow-going. I plodded on in New York but felt myself wasting time. I didn’t want to keep telling people I would be moving to SF “soon.” I wanted to do it!
So I went back to the method that’s always worked best for me: I decided to just show up. No job, no apartment, just a few wonderful friends that would welcome me as I tried to make this place my new home.
I have now been in San Francisco for one month and five days, and it has been the smoothest transition of my life. Less than a week before I flew out to SF, I met a friend of a friend who was visiting NYC; we’re now roommates and I feel super lucky to have landed such a great place with such great people. (Given the rental crunch in SF, to have secured housing in <2 wks is a huge deal.) On my second day in town, I updated my LinkedIn profile to the SF Bay Area. On my third day here, a recruiter reached out. Several interviews and less than a month into my stay in SF, I accepted an offer. I start at LinkedIn next week and couldn’t be more excited about it.
On the face of it, it looks like everything has gone according to plan. But the truth is, I never really had one. Every move has felt like a move in the right direction, but the details have always been hazy; none of this would have happened if I hadn’t decided to just show up. I might still be in New York, planning to make the move once a job was lined up, or once housing was secured, or, or, or. Sometimes you just have to go for it and make your own serendipity.
Historically, that’s worked well for me. I’m not saying it will be easy. You’ll need direction, you’ll need a strong support network, you’ll need the financial means, the hustle, that heady cocktail of confidence, optimism, and naiveté to do it. Give yourself a time frame to test out the waters if you need to and rationalize a back up plan if that helps you get going.Take a beat to listen to your instinct— it’s there for a reason. Humor yourself and fancy yourself invincible; surround yourself with people who believe this to be true. When the time comes, accept the fact that you are not, and will probably have to take an odd job here or there to get yourself going. Appreciate the fact that no one has told you “you can’t” or asked if you are “sure.”
If you’ve got that, don’t wait. Don’t worry about outlining a plan. Sometimes the best you can do is show up without one.
DECELERATION, then, is a productive process, a form of skilled apprehension that can orient students in critical ways to the contemporary world.
If you have a heart that beats and a smartphone in your pocket, you know that disconnecting is a luxury. Have you heard about the phone stack game? (First one to fiddle with their phone foots the bill.) Digital detox camp and mobile-free parties? (Please check your phones at the door.) Restaurants asking you to please not Instagram during your meal? Welcome to the 21st century, where disconnecting is “A Thing,” and it’s #trending in the styles section.
Most of us, it seems, are too connected, too often, and so we’ve had to get creative about disconnecting. If you work in tech like I do, it can seem impossible to disconnect.
When I first started working in mobile product/UX, my phone was bloated with apps. We were pivoting to a mobile marketing platform and I left every app’s push notifications on. We were building a pipeline of potential partner apps and I downloaded every one to see how their current app worked, and how we could improve it. We were redesigning our mobile experience and I couldn’t delete competitor apps fast enough. I had a lot of apps on my phone. I had a lot of opportunities to be distracted.
I still work in mobile, but I’ve learned a few tricks since then to help me disconnect. They’re not rocket science, but they do work. Here’s how I manage the digital distractions in my life:
I removed the Facebook app from my phone. Whoah. It is amazing how much of a mindless habit browsing Facebook had become. Waiting for the bus, waiting for a friend at the bar, on a quick walk to lunch — all prime opportunities to look up and out and I was too busy reading about the latest Miley Cyrus meme to notice. Since I deleted the FB app from my phone I feel ten times better — and more present — than before. Honestly, I feel a little smarter, too. I’m reading more, I’m learning more, my perception of others is getting sharper. Life is being lived, not browsed.
I use the iPhone’s “Do not disturb” setting all the time. Literally. Every day. 24 hours a day. If you haven’t heard of it, Do not disturb allows you to set a block of time where incoming texts and notifications are ignored and calls go straight to voicemail (iOS 6 and up only). (Except calls from your Favorites, and calls that come in from the same contact twice in a row in under five minutes. Hint: it’s an emergency.) A lot of people use Do Not Disturb at night, to prevent notifications and texts from interrupting their slumber. That’s why I initially started using it, and I did sleep better. I also realized that most of the app alerts piling up overnight were pretty irrelevant. So I went all the way and decided to leave Do Not Disturb on during daytime hours, too. The only time I turn it off is if I’m expecting a call from a number I don’t already know (from a recruiter, a client, a bank, etc.) Otherwise, it’s on, and I’m on.
Just to be safe, I turned off individual notifications for nearly all my apps. I make an exception for the apps I use daily, like Sunrise (calendar app), Up (which only pings me if my Jawbone battery needs charging), and messaging apps like Skype and Whatsapp, but everything else is off limits.That way if I do have to turn off my Do Not Disturb settings, I’m not flooded with notifications. I just don’t get them.
I started wearing a watch again. This was a big one. Relying on my phone for the time always tempted me — a simple glance at the time would never stop there. I’d see those notifications on my lock screen piled up, just begging to be cleared. And while we’re clearing those notifications, might as well check email, right? And so it went. The solution was really quite simple: start wearing my watch again. Not only do I check my phone less, but I no longer feel rude if I have to check the time mid-coffee date. It’s much easier to take a discrete peek at my watch than to pull out my phone mid conversation.
So there you have it. Simple, obvious, and the effects have been wonderful: I feel less anxious because there are no “pressing” updates to scroll through. I feel more focused because there are far fewer pings interrupting my conversations and my thoughts. I feel more present, more empathetic, and more patient, and my neck hurts less. (So do my thumbs.) In other words, I feel great. Once you decide everything on your phone can wait, it can; it does.
Facebook needs machines that can understand the way we humans behave and write and even feel.
In January — after the company rolled out a limited public trial of Graph Search, a way of searching activity on the popular social network — Facebook engineers were forced to tweak their algorithms so they could translate slang like “pics of my homies” into more straightforward language like “pictures of my friends” and convert expressions like “dig,” “off the chain,” and “off the hook” into that standard Facebook word: “Like.”
This worked well enough. But it’s just the beginning. Like Google and Apple and other tech giants, Facebook is exploring a new field called “deep learning,” which will allow its machines to better understand all sorts of nuanced language and behavior that we humans take for granted. In short, deep learning teaches machines to behave more like the human brain. Facebook’s effort only recently got off the ground — “we’re just getting started,” a company spokesperson says — but its importance will expand as time goes on.