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Culture

Lost in translation

Image of man with blurred neck and face

If you know a language, you can say exactly what you mean. Nothing gets lost in translation.

If you use Google or any other translation services you lose the subtleties, the cultural verbiage that makes the difference between saying you had a good day or a great day.

Sure, spitting out something is better than nothing. The foreigner gets kudos for trying, except maybe in France.

But the most accurate exchange is the deepest exchange, as specifics allow one to elaborate within understood constraints, even when it comes to the communication of emojis.

image via giphy

Categories
Culture Social Media Writing

Consider ‘social snacking’

Social media allows for light touches. You can snack on a relationship by sending a friend a text or simple email just to remind them that you still value their relationship.

Even sending a happy birthday message on Facebook can help keep you top of mind.

What makes communication awkward are the long periods of silence in between. Even though people are ambiently aware of each other, they still need to follow up.

A quick text, a like or comment, an email, or better yet, a phone call or handwritten letter, keeps you relevant. Small acts of care help preserve relationships in the long term.

If anything, social smacking helps break the ice when you do meet again face to face.

Categories
Social Media

‘That time when I…’

taylor swift kanye west kardashian
Besties…

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.”

That time when ‘that time when’ took over the Internet

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Uncategorized

FaceTime and the Perils of Public Discourse

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.

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Snail Mail

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.

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A love letter to Twitter

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.

Twitter is the microphone for the global machine.