All I remember is seeing blood. My heart beat faster as I tried to figure out what was wrong. Did I cut myself? Were my insides disintegrating? Tears started to fill my eyes as I did the only thing I could think of: shoving toilet paper into my underwear in the hopes it would stop the bleeding. Fifteen minutes had passed since I excused myself from a large state-wide standardized test due to intense pain. My guts felt like they’d been flipped to the outside and ravaged by a pair of garden shears. Shaking like a leaf, I managed to pull myself together and schlep myself back into my seat to make it through the rest of the test and the remainder of the school day. It wasn’t until days later that I was told that I had my first period at nine years old.
Although we live in an era where 280 characters can recount an amazing moment, it is impossible to beat a full-length story. Long-form content, or content that is more than ~1,200 words, is steadily coming back into the limelight as an important form of digital storytelling. Social media and technology have skewed our attention spans to be short and obsessive. The shorter the content, the zingier (and more popular) it was, but with that came fatigue. Now, we are seeing traditional long-form content sneaking back into content strategies – and with great success. Readers are becoming increasingly more invested in what they are engaging with and who is writing.
A picture is worth a thousand words. This is a phrase we have all heard at least a thousand times, but sometimes we need to be reminded that a picture is more than just what meets the eye. Only a little over 100 years ago, people believed that everything they saw in photographs was true. As long as the photograph was taken where and when the caption says it was, it was generally thought to be accurate and, at times, even more reliable than the testimony of a human eye witness (Ritchin, 1985). This mindset is now few and far between in today’s society. Nothing – not even a smiling selfie – can be published without meeting extreme scrutiny from the receiving public.
We live in a reality where nothing is reality. From the posts on Instagram we mindlessly scroll through, to the news we consume from major media outlets – nothing is as “real” as we would hope it would be. Falsities have become a new economy. Just like bootleg designer pocketbooks, fake digital content has been all the rage with people, and large organizations, using it to boost their social status, following, and engagement. So what do I mean when I say fake?
In the early 2000s, I remember sitting in my 4th-period health class listening to the teacher drone on about nutrition, exercise and what would happen if you did drugs or alcohol. The framing of all of this information was exceedingly mind-numbing and as a 10-year-old, I didn’t care to pay attention to it longer than I had to. One week stood out to me in particular though. When we were going over the topic of obesity and nutrition, I remember my teacher wheeling in a television and a DVD player on one of those carts. Excited for what I thought might be a Disney movie, I perked up. She inserted the disc and that was when I watched one of the most disgusting and eye-opening videos I had ever seen.
The relationship between humans and animals has always been unique. If one thinks about it, the entire foundation of humanity relied upon animals. They provided us with food, companionship, and ultimately helped pave the way to our modernity. While not every single animal contributed to the direct rise of man, what they did contribute to was the health and natural order of the environment.
There is nothing so universally delightful as a good story. A good story invokes emotion, keeps us hanging on the edge, and encompasses our thoughts. As a child, I took to reading fairly quickly and threw myself into the world of literature. Reading about fantasy worlds sparked creativity and led me to write my own stories. Going to the library was a family weekend event. As a proud library card owner, I’d check out all of my own books and made sure to return them on time for fear of those dreaded late fees. Each library visit would yield a literal pile of books that I stacked up neatly on my bedside table. As the weekdays went by, I read through the stack and brought back the completed reads on Saturday morning. It was habitual.
It’s no secret that the beauty industry thrives on social media. Many of the premier makeup and skincare brands have built empires – millions of followers, a horde of influencers, and a brand presence that conveys exactly their standpoint on aesthetics. While the beauty industry has been rather concerned about products that go on one’s face, the nail industry has been booming as well. Influencers like SimplyNailogical, cutepolish, and Nail Career Education have made nail polish exciting again in the past couple of years. Because of the hype from these online influencers, consumers – especially young girls – began to take an interest again with nail polish. This was great for the industry, but for the brands themselves, they needed to make focusing on social media a priority.
A few years ago, when I was completing my undergraduate degree, I wanted to be able to put some of my free time to good use. With only a few classes left, I figured that volunteering would be a great way to keep my time occupied and help my community. Years prior, I learned of the Franklin Township Animal Shelter and knew that they took on volunteers – however they had to be over 18 years of age. At the time I offered to volunteer I was only 16 and was so saddened to hear that I couldn’t help out. Going back, then as a proud 20-year old, I was excited to get involved. Although my time as a volunteer only lasted around half a year, it was a great learning experience. The amount of time and effort that the volunteers put in is astounding and I applaud every one of them for putting the needs of the animals first.
Take a moment to think about your day. How many people did you call? Did you send off more emails than you received? When you politely disagreed with someone, did you furrow your brows? Whether you inherently notice it or not, humans are always communicating with one another. Through body language, vocalization, and specialized squiggles called “letters” we are able to transmit our ideas and feelings. Steady advancements in telecommunication through the 19th century to the present day allows us the option to choose the best delivery method and how exactly we will converse. Recently, industry experts have expressed worry that technology is overtaking our cultures and institutions because it develops so much quicker. How can we, as a society, be on a level playing field with objects that upgrade every year or so? (Here’s looking at you, Apple.)