Sadie burst into my office in tears.
“I’ve… ruined… the whole… thing,” she cried, her words broken by gasps for air.
“There are cockroaches in my house and no one on the island remembers me.”
About a month ago, I bought “Animal Crossing: New Horizons” for the Nintendo Switch. It was a big purchase as video game prices go.
But this is a pandemic and I’m on the hunt for things we can do together as a family. Cooped up in the house on crappy weather days? No problem. Flip on the Switch and craft tools and furniture, build homes and stores and make new animal friends on our family island.
We didn’t know much about the game before we played it. We knew it was a huge hit by the posts we saw on Twitter. It was the No. 1 best-selling game in March, and second in April.
“Finally,” I thought. “Something that doesn’t require killing zombies.”
Sadie was the first to play the game. What we didn’t know at the time was that the first person to play the game would become the island representative.
She named the island “Apple” and set some decisions in motion that impacted play for the rest of us. She invited a curator to locate his museum on the island. She built Nook’s Cranny (a kind of trading post) and the first bridge. She sold land to new villagers.
All was well on Apple until Sadie made some risky choices this past week.
Read more at https://www.vindy.com/life/lifestyles/2020/05/animal-crossing-nh-brings-family-together/ (may encounter paywall).
After months of teasing changes to their conversation tools, Twitter officially announced major upgrades to how we control replies to our posts. This is good news for people who have been avoiding the microblogging platform because of its reputation for fostering online negativity.
It’s true that some people abandoned their Twitter accounts years ago because they were unable to control unwanted replies. I’m all about free speech, but unrelated, negative replies made it hard to have meaningful conversations with people who wanted to interact with me.
For example, I received everything from replies that encouraged debate and sought clarifications to “You’re an idiot” (negative) and “Buy these sunglasses for $9.99” (unrelated) to my tweets.
“Since last year, we’ve been working to give people more control over their conversations, starting with the ability to hide replies,” Suzanne Xie, Twitter’s director of product management said last week. “We also began trying out new ways to start conversations.”
Now Twitter is testing new settings that let us choose who can reply to our tweets and join in on our conversations.
Read more at https://www.vindy.com/life/lifestyles/2020/05/twitter-expands-on-conversation-tools/ (may encounter paywall).
Like many of us, Twitter employees are working from home during COVID-19.
So it wasn’t surprising to read that Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey told his employees that they could continue to work from home.
What was surprising, however, was that Dorsey told his employees they could work from home “forever.”
“Forever?” one of my friends tweeted with a mind-blown emoji.
“Well, until you’re dead,” I replied. “That’s not forever.”
“Or maybe you can work for Twitter from the great beyond,” he added.
“Oh, wow. Yeah, forever…” I replied with a smiley-faced angel emoji. That word — forever — seemed stuck in the writing craw of columnists and pundits all over the world in the days following Dorsey’s announcement.
While critics gnaw on the ripple effects this “new” policy could have on work culture, it’s important to note that it’s not actually a new policy.
Read more at https://www.vindy.com/life/lifestyles/2020/05/working-from-home-is-not-a-new-concept/ (may encounter paywall).
Social media platforms are reporting an increase in daily active users over the last few weeks. As the pandemic and stay-at-home orders linger, it’s easy to understand why.
We want immediate information about this new world we’re living in almost as much as we crave connections with our friends, families, co-workers and peers. There’s really no better place to get both right now than through our favorite social channels.
While we’re sharing on Facebook, Twitter or some other social soup du jour, it’s easy to forget that we’re expanding our profiles. We’re influencing others, leaving lasting impressions, and (sometimes) perpetuating negativity.
“During this crisis, your social media image is the last thing you’re probably worried about,” said Catherine Bosley, an online advocate, journalist and national speaker. “There’s plenty of reason to put more thought into what we’re posting now.”
Bosley offers tips to follow when reviewing our social media actions.
Read more at https://www.vindy.com/life/lifestyles/2020/05/put-a-more-positive-spin-on-negativity/ (may encounter paywall).
“Time to make the doughnuts.” I said this while my children sat in the living room eating Froot Loops and watching cartoons.
“Wait, you’re making doughnuts?” Ozzie asked as he sat down his cereal bowl. “How do you do that? Can I help?”
What he obviously didn’t know is that I was referring to the long-running Dunkin’ Donuts ad campaign from the 1980s. In the ad, Fred the Baker wakes up early every day to get to the bakery to make doughnuts for his morning customers.
Fred would say to his wife, “Time to make the doughnuts” as he donned the Dunkin’ cap and headed to work.
He never seemed angry about having to work so early, but he always said his patented line with a slight sigh to express exhaustion. I like to think that Fred considered it an honor and duty to the serve the people of his town with fresh doughnuts each day.
When I left the living room to walk upstairs to my makeshift home office, I was reminded of other important cultural artifacts my children have been deprived of over the years.
“How do my kids not know about Fred?” I thought to myself. “What else have they missed?”
This had to be remedied.
Read more at https://www.vindy.com/life/lifestyles/2020/05/pandemic-opportunity-for-pop-culture-lessons/ (may encounter paywall).
Dr. Adam C. Earnheardt is professor of communication studies the department of communication at Youngstown State University in Youngstown, OH, USA where he also directs the graduate program in professional communication. He researches and writes about communication and relationships, parenting and sports. He writes a weekly column for The Vindicator and Tribune-Chronicle newspapers on social media and society.