Posts Tagged ‘Facebook’

Emoji, the 21st century’s cousin to emoticons (remember those? The digital typographical ASCII characters created in the 1970s which looked like needlepoint and were meticulously created by combining standard alphabet characters from a keyboard) have created a whole language that now can be accessed directly from a keyboard like any character set. Ever wonder who creates them or how they are created? Does anyone control this “language” or can just anybody give birth to an emoji and put it out there in cyberspace?

An article in the July 2018 issue of Wired magazine revealed all of these mysteries along with presenting some fascinating facts about emoji evolution. Emoji are not emoticons. Though used in the same fashion and are similar in that they pictographic like Japanese or Chinese characters, they are really a Unicode based “typeface”. However, they were invented by Shigetaka Kurita, a Japanese, in 1999 in response to Japan’s 250 character limit on e-mails. His emoji concept was a way to conserve space within those confines.

There are now more than 2,700 emoji and more get created every year. So who creates them and makes them accessible to you and me? There are two parts to this. Anyone can create an emoji if they know how. But for it to become public it must be submitted to “…the whims of the Sanhedrin of emoji – the Unicode Consortium.” Virginia Heffernan, Atomic Unit- the Delicate Art of Emoji, Wired July 2018

The Unicode Consortium’s chief task is to set the Unicode Standard, thus controlling the way text (typefaces) is encoded and represented in the world’s writing systems. There are twelve dues paying members, one each from: Oracle, IBM, Adobe, Apple, Google, Facebook, Shopify, Netflix, SAP, Huawei, the government of Oman, and UC Berkeley, as well as the governments of India and Bangladesh who have lower-level memberships. (She did not mention in her article how these entities were chosen to become its members.)

After an emoji idea (fully mocked up as to how it will look graphically) is submitted, it gets considered by the Consortium’s subcommittee. Then after lengthy debates within that committee it is rejected or added to the master list. Each year this gets submitted to the Unicode Technical Committee who will debate and vote on which ones will be approved.

There are a few constraints. Your emoji submission can’t represent a deity, a logo, or a specific person (living, dead, or fictional – sorry no Mr. Spock or Pres. Trump allowed!) Nor can it represent something illegal or “gross” or offensive. The submitter must also write a full proposal that includes speculative data as to frequency of use. As Virginia Heffernan writes in her article, “To regulate the development of a language is not, strictly speaking, the American way.” However she goes on to state, “…the regulation of emoji…serve as a singular example of how online communication might be supervised with rigor, generosity, and imagination.”

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“Too much has been said about the way technology allows us to experience the illusion of connection and retreat further into hermetic patterns, but it bears repeating that texts, emails, Facebook pokes, and Twitter faves do not a social life make. People are, it would seem, lonelier than ever and also less used to being alone.” – Lena Dunham, Vogue June 2018, p34

What does the “i” stand for in iPod, iPhone, iPad? Does anyone know? We’ve become the “i” generation, plugged in 24/7. Go to a museum and you see people walking through the galleries checking their iPhones instead of looking at the exhibits. Go into a Barns & Noble and watch the people who, while selecting CDs in the music section, are plugged into their iPods. I don’t know how many times I’ve almost run over a pedestrian who is staring at some tiny screen instead of being conscious of the traffic around him. Don’t even ask me about my opinion of the jerks who have to use these devises while driving. And it’s not just the “kids” who are immersed (here is another “i” word) in that other universe, it’s every generation! I recently took classes at college and, to my chagrin, had to deal with an 80 minute lecture that was broken up repeatedly by the professor checking her iPhone. For what reason? To get the latest score on her hockey playing son! In another class, there were numerous students who had their phones on silent mode but would then get up and leave the class to take the call. This other professor did not discourage their behavior feeling that they had family matters to check on. However, these people walking back and forth in front of me while he was giving his lecture made me want to scream.

Insensitive, isolationist, inconsiderate, interactive but in an alternate universe, does anyone ever connect with the real world anymore. Most people are more concerned with their “likes” on Facebook, the number of people viewing their Instagram pics, and responding in delayed time to Twitter words. It’s been proven that one can have relationships with humans where the only connection is in cyberspace but has anyone ever received a feel good emotion from hugging their iPad?

So why this rant today? I am trying to work through a very tough question in my life due to the deaths, last week of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain: Why do people contemplate and become suicidal? I have a very good friend, who when she gets winter SAD, cuts herself off from all human contact and thinks about doing it. OK, this has nothing to do with iPhones but like I wrote a few sentences ago, it’s isolationist. We human beings are meant to connect flesh on flesh, voice to ear, touch to touch, and see each other in real time. As humans, we are genetically programmed to react to our environment, either in fear or in delight. (And studies have shown that babies who do not experience human touch don’t thrive.) Electronic devices (even the smartphone’s latest attempt at virtual reality) can’t replicate that, they put up a wall between us.

Yes, I know that people commit suicide for many different reasons but I just can’t help wondering how much all of our “i” devices are contributing to the uptick in such deaths. When social media debuted no one would have thought that it could be the reason people would commit suicide. Today we know differently.

We’ll probably never know why Spade and Bourdain took their lives. They definitely were not isolated individuals. They both had family, friends and a support system. But what about the thousands who are just like everyone else in the plugged in generations who one day discover that the world of pixels is not enough. That the light on the screen can’t show them the way out of THEIR darkness and thus they decide that the only answer is to hit the off button on their life.

(if you think someone you know is going this route don’t stay silent. Talk to them, ask them if they are contemplating suicide. And give them this number: National Suicide Hotline 1-800-273-8255, where they can talk to people who are trained to help)

 

 

It’s been all over the media, the story of the woman who egged her “friend” on to commit suicide. Through the use of social media she managed to convince him that that was the best option he had. And then there was the smart, pretty 12 year old girl who committed suicide due to all the bullying she received via social media.

I wonder, if Jesus Christ were to be crucified today, how many people would pull out their iPhones and snap a picture of his agony to post on Facebook. And yet that is what we do each time we post something negative about a friend, something private about a neighbor, tear down a politician, or post a photograph which never was meant to be shared with the world. These actions crucify and create agony in the target person’s life.

You don’t have to be a bully or psychologically impaired to have your e-mails or tweets wreck havoc on someone. Just look at how our President, yes the president of the United states, has negatively impacted not only the objects of his tweets but his own presidential image. Sometimes it’s not so much the content of a social media post that is the problem but the choice of words used to express an opinion.

For good or bad, social media in all its forms is here to stay. Maybe it’s time to stop and take a look at how our social media words and pictures pollute and demean our existence and hurt the ones to whom we send it. We have the choice to spread messages of hope and beauty rather than despair and ugliness. Let’s make life better by choosing to use it for good

Until the advent of the telephone, communication was face-to-face (yes, there were letters, telegraph, smoke signals, drums, but here we are covering daily communications between regular people). It was one human being using spoken words to be received by another human’s ears. The important matters of businesses, town councils, and governments took place in meetings, where one not only received information but could also see the emotional state of the person speaking. The telephone changed that somewhat especially when the speakerphone (and later the video camera) was invented. However, people still gathered together in real time and space to discuss matters of importance. Then came text messaging and the internet.

Yes, live meetings became the bane of existence for business people. These meetings got the reputation of time wasters, where you were trapped in a room accomplishing little after spending a good chunk of time getting there. So with the creation of electronic devices accessed through high-speed connections, one can be anywhere on the planet and still participate. Cool, right? That’s if there is a video feed to the equation. Most of the time, people just “text” or “post”. So what you get, in essence, is an electronic letter to read which can be misinterpreted in its meaning. Sorry, but “e-moticons” do not count. As humans we need face-to-face communication not only to discern the speaker’s emotional state but also to be able to immediately ask a question to clarify something confusing.

A prime example of how this faceless communication not occurring in real time can go wrong, was recently when President-elect Trump sent his infamous tweet with the word “Nazi” in it. He knew why he was using that to backup a point of his but did anyone other than historians and Baby Boomers get what he was referring to? No. And since tweeting isn’t “real time” even if someone responded to his tweet asking for clarification, he didn’t have the time to send out another tweet to do so. That hardly happens in real time meetings and we saw this during the press conference when a reporter brought it up and Trump went on to explain himself. Bingo, the entire watching universe understood.

I’m not saying that tweeting or texting should be avoided. We can’t go back to the days before these devices and programs were available. However, like we all learned with the e-mail universe, once you hit the send button it’s out there for better or worse. With faceless communications, we all need to try very hard not to say things in a confusing manner or make references that only a certain portion of the population gets (hmm, like telling an in joke that can backfire on you when most of the listeners don’t get it!) It’s also great that now our chief executive can communicate instantly with the masses. Very few previous Presidents had either the technology or the skill to use it as he does.

Meetings have become the dinosaur of the 21st century and Twitter and Facebook have taken its place. It doesn’t matter if you are the President of the United States, or a 12 year old communicating with her best friend, what you say can become a disastrous opportunity to be misunderstood. Keep the message simple, avoid jargon or historical/political references, and you should be on safer ground as a 21st century communicator.

Remember that old-time saying “They’re talking about you behind your back.”? In today’s digital world of smartphones, iPads, tablets, Twitter, and Facebook, the “behind your back” is the wifi stream! Today’s technology gives everyone the ability to comment on YOU in real time to not one person but hundreds of people. And depending upon the situation, this can be a bonus or a career killer.

Mostly speakers at conferences have had to deal with the death by tweet. But if you think you are imune from this phenomenon, think again. Here are some examples I have personally encountered:

A college professor friend of mine whose presentations tend to be on the boring side got fed up with his students diverting their attention to their cell phones. What a shock he got, when after banning their use one person anonomously e-mailed some of his classmates negative comments that were posted during the class!

I’m sitting in a workshop quite enraptured by the presenter’s information on a new artist’s work. One attendee continuously breaks in with what she knows, which is more than the presenter. Where is she getting it? Google in real time!

On one of my favorite TV shows, a person is interviewing for a nanny for his kids. Right in the middle of the interview, the current candidate answers her smart phone and has the audacity to comment to the interviewer about how she must tweet about getting this position with someone so important. TV scripting? Nope, I’ve heard this from some of my friends who’ve conducted interviews.

On the flip side, positive tweets and Facebook postings spread the speaker’s reach beyond the flour walls. It’s an opportunity to brand oneself as an expert without excerting any effort beyond the presentation.

When people are open to sharing negative messages with the individual (along with positve sugestions for improvement) it can also be a valuable means to self-improvement.

 In this world of mutlitasking it takes more to capture attention then ever before. Studies have shown that young people would be willing to give up their sense of smell for their technology. Thus technology has become a “6th sense”. To the digitally connected 24/7 technology gives them more friends than they could have without the connections, more power to express their opinions, and instant interaction with a community of like minds. Can you beat that?

 So what can you do about this situation? Banning those devices is not the answer as my professor friend found out. First, you have to accept the fact that even before technology, people were making negative comments. Second, know your audience  and make sure your subject matter “matters” to them. Be as entertaining as your personality, material, and situation allows. Keep in the back of your mind that your material should also be worth sharing. Ask for feedback from both the bodies in the room and the bodies in cyberspace. Remember, your audience is potentially a lot larger than the room you are in, and that can be a positive for you. Lastly, spend some time Googling yourself, your company, your topic, and see what comments are floating around in cyberspace!

It’s not just what you say, it’s how you say it that can get you into trouble!

Sign on a golf course that a friend posted on my Facebook wall:
Any persons (except players) caught collecting golf balls on this course will be prosecuted and have their balls removed.