Doing This with Sarah Joy Shockey

“Anything can end at any time but we don’t know when or why. So, isn’t it better to do something now while you can instead of waiting til you can’t?”

Winter in Illinois exhausts me. Not immediately and not all at once but nearly completely. Its cadence is familiar and come late December I’m spent. Weeks of subzero temperatures and tense holiday gatherings leave me with just enough energy to sit alone in my apartment and introspect past the point of any possible benefit. It’s then I look to the internet for substantive content to calm my nerves and ease me into a new year. Too often my social media feeds mirror the NYE parties I can’t physically bring myself to join – loud and sloppy.

Endless self-help quick tips, regurgitated resolutions, shortsighted predictions and pointless year-end lists flutter down my news feed. I don’t click one. I scan (chat) room, see nobody I’m interested in engaging with and make up my mind – It’s time to ditch this (virtual) ‘NYE party’.

Medium was just what I needed.

“Every day, thousands of people turn to Medium to publish their ideas and perspectives. Leaders. Artists. Thinkers. And ordinary citizens who have a story to tell. Posts range from scrutinies of world affairs to deeply personal essays. Medium sifts the best of these for you and delivers them directly onto your home page.”

I went through a quick profile setup selecting topics that interested me – Tech, Humor, This Happened to Me and others – then began searching for articles to read. I found Medium’s dashboard (for lack of better term) immediately helpful. Topics lined the top of the page. Once all articles in one category were scrolled through the next category would appear at the bottom of the page. I didn’t navigate long before Sarah’s latest post, Uncle Bob, drew me in with her flashcard-like drawing.

unclebob

The title didn’t give a strong indication what the story would be about. An estimated 6 minute read with pictures was a commitment level I could handle. To my surprise, Sarah’s entire story was told through minimalist pictures. Approximately 80. I won’t go into detail as to what Uncle Bob is about because I think Sarah’s self-exploratory narrative and approachable imagery makes this story a particularly enjoyable ‘read’. Because of it’s brevity any synopsis would only detract from the experience.

I will say Uncle Bob is exactly what I was hoping to find going into the new year; a diamond among stones. Sarah has dozens of articles on Medium and I’ve only stuck my nose in the rabbit-hole. Her posts aren’t all told through captioned, postcard-sized drawings, but “Doing This” is another in that format and the one that motivated me to write this when I did. It’s personal and emotional. For me, sympathy came and went quickly then I was ultimately left with an overwhelming optimism and motivation. The exact emotions I wanted going into the new year.Thank you, Sarah.

Read “Doing This”, “Uncle Bob” and more of Sarah’s stories on Medium.

sarahjoy2

Sarah Joy Shockey on Medium

Sarah Joy Shockey on Twitter

Me on Twitter

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The Big Internet Museum: not too big to fail

museumofadvice

This post appeared in my Facebook news feed earlier today and reminded me of another virtual museum I’d taken a liking to years ago. Sadly, when I went to revisit said museum all I found was this:

biginternetmuseum

The concept of an online museum dedicated to the internet seems obvious, but most things we love seem obvious after they’re created. I recall the Big Internet Museum mostly archived humorous bits of pop culture pertaining to how people used the internet since it’s inception, then sprinkled interesting nostalgic examples throughout the site to create ‘exhibits’. What stands out clearest in my memory is the clean layout and simple navigation of the ‘museum’. It was linear, chronological, yet, very pleasing to the eye. The melding of aesthetics and resource made it easy to waste time meandering through the ‘wings’ of the website. In an age dominated by sound-bites, headlines and fads I’m not easily shocked by the passing of the last best thing, but for some reason the Big Internet Museum not existing anymore took me aback. But … why?

I think the answer is twofold:

  1. When the internet grows, the museum grows. What’s the problem? The concept lends itself to perpetual growth and expansion. As time goes on, the internet continues to exist and the ‘museum’ can grow with it. The only expense would be time creating the content and maintaining the website (Sorry, ‘museum’.) I can’t think of an analogy worthy of how senseless I think this is (but I’ll try.) It’s like not driving your Bentley because you don’t want to buy windshield washer fluid (I’ll come up with something better, but you get the point.)
  2.  Is it just the domain fee? If the nominal expense of time and maintenance is too much (and I can understand if the labor of love isn’t paying off) why not just leave the site up in it’s latest iteration? From what I gather the site had remarkable traffic from the onset. It’s relevancy is timeless even without staying current; it could be a document from the internet’s inception to any given date and still draw traffic.

I won’t spend any more time speculating why the ‘museum’ is no more. And I’ll stop berating the creators for why I think it easily still could be. Instead I’ll finish this blog post to let you know not long ago there was a ‘museum’ dedicated to the internet where you could learn how people searched before Google, when GIFs became a thing, and even how a blog post like this became possible.

Here’s the link to the Museum of Advice article, in case you’re interested.

ChiDM: making global connections via Chicago

Chicago Design Museum leverages creative and strategic partnerships across the world to expand their reach beyond the 3rd floor of 108 N State Street. This Instagram post caught my attention and sent me down a rabbit-hole exploring their past exhibits, in Chicago and abroad.

chicagodesign

#GreatIdeasExhibit #HongKong #Chicago

I was impressed with the membership component on their website too. It struck me as a very practical way of engaging people who couldn’t otherwise interact with ChiDM due to proximity, but one day could as they create more partnerships internationally.

To make the relationship tangible, they seduce you with a physical item – a Membership Coin (limited edition to boot!) Then they raise the anti with workshops and private tours, before finally making their move to seal the deal – password protected exclusive content. #letmein

#MembersOnly

The cursor slowly blinking in the empty field taunts you as your imagination runs wild wondering what’s beyond that blank off-white wall.

Ugh. I think it’s time I became a member. Check back for updates.