One of the ways mobile behavior has changed is that instead of sharing stuff at the moment, we edit and share it later with a caption like “That time I…”. According to Washington Post journalist Britt Peterson, the phrase, and its various iterations (“that time when,” “that moment when,” etc.) create immediate intimacy with your followers which is why it works so well for celebrities, who may not want to reveal their present location for obvious privacy concerns.
“That time I” works in real time to make readers feel like they’re part of an in-group, creating collective nostalgia for events that just took place. In some way, it’s a neat linguistic trick.”
One of the reasons I love using Instagram Stories versus Snapchat is because it allows you to suspend publishing now in real-time for posting within 24 hours later. The countdown clock leaves plenty of time to review your photos and videos later on. If you wanted to share highlights from the party the night prior, for example, you can do it from bed the next morning to reframe the past as the present.
However, using the “that time” expression is ideally suited for the moment too, especially to cement a memory that’s worth preserving in the future.
“It’s kind of like a sepia filter for language,” said Ben Zimmer, a linguist and the executive producer of the Visual Thesaurus. “Something just happened to me that will be super-memorable, and I will be remembering this when I’m older and saying, ‘Wow, remember this time?’”
Using “that time” promptly or later is effective either way. The catchword is intrinsically tied to nowness, creating both FOMO (fear of missing out) while permitting your audience to vicariously live in a scene with you. Peterson sums up the use of “that time” via the term’s master user, Taylor Swift.
“The intimacy created by “that time when” is a warm, engulfing fog, with no use at all for grammatical and logical scaffolding. Without having been at Swift’s party — and without the construction of the sentence reminding us that we weren’t there — we can all feel like we’re part of the #squad.”
The theme of mobile open dialogue and Internet browsing is trending. I partly blame FaceTime and mobile video conversation for this emergence.
As a daily train commuter, I see a lot of the ways people deal with technology. And by far the most invasive development of them all is FaceTime.
FaceTime allows iPhone users to chat face to face on their mobile devices. While this is fantastic for home and work conversations, bringing family and colleagues into your space, it’s typically a nuisance for everyone else if used in public.
FaceTime is training users that it’s ok to broadcast live video out loud, including YouTube. Yesterday, one man on my train was blasting a movie preview on YouTube. The guy behind him was talking to his wife on FaceTime about dinner plans. Thankfully someone had the courage tell them both to quiet down.
If you’re going to chat, watch online videos and movies or listen to music, the proper etiquette is to use headphones. We already overhear enough banter as it is; we certainly don’t need to know what you’re doing tonight or what movie you’ll illegally BitTorrent next.
Unfortunately, I think technology continues to evolve like a Google Hangout where everyone gets included on the conversation by default. Before, we were just spying on each other. Now we can’t figure out a away to get away from each other.
I’m in deep trouble. My brother sent me a Mother’s Day card to pass along to my mom weeks ago. I never got it, only because I haven’t checked my mailbox in weeks.
In fact, I never check my mailbox unless there’s an Amazon shipment on the way. Do you? I’ve digitized everything from bills (love autopay) to magazines. I don’t expect mail. I refuse to have extra paper taking up space on my kitchen counter.
Coincidentally, I’m also slowing down on checking my email too. Instead of checking it like text messages 10 times/day, I’ll check it max three times. Email is becoming the new snail mail, as is Facebook. Modernizing old systems just reproduces old habits.
So I hope my brother’s card is still there so I can pass it along to my Mom. He’d be wise though to send me one more text or Snapchat to remind me.
Twitter’s Creative Director Doug Bowman sums up his love for the platform before exiting:
I love how people can gain a new voice with Twitter. It has given me a louder and farther-reaching voice than I ever thought possible. And while I can only physically be in one place at one time, I love how Twitter distributes my awareness of what’s going on nearby or far away. At any moment, I can instantly know what’s going on in the next room, in the next town, or in a country halfway around the world.