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Forge
A publication from Medium on personal development.

Digital Life

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Reminders we all need. Yes, even you.

Photo: Artur Debat / Getty Images

We all know how to use Twitter without setting ourselves up for a scandal, right? We’ve gotten used to not starting pointless fights on Facebook, and not posting incriminating photos on Instagram, and not doing anything at all on TikTok because we’re all too old for that, every last person on Earth is too old for that. Right?

Well actually, no, and I’m willing to bet there’s some “common sense” rule of social media each of us is guilty of breaking at one point or another. Shane Paul Neil has an irreverent — and totally useful — rundown of what…


As soon as Uncle Gene unmutes himself, this is going to be smooth sailing

Family having a Zoom call over the holidays.
Family having a Zoom call over the holidays.
Photo: Marko Geber/DigitalVision/Getty Images

Is Nana still mad that you’re not flying across the country to superspread with the whole extended family this holiday season? Well listen, Nana (and the part of each of us that is secretly still so sad about everything still being virtual): A holiday Zoom can be even more fun than an IRL get-together. And definitely more efficient. You just have to think of it like you would any meeting. For the next hour (max!), your job is to create fun‚ which takes just a little bit of work.

1. Have a host

Actually, have two. You and the funniest family member you can…


How that little image of your face on video chat harms your self-image through ‘self-objectification’

Businesswoman having a video call meeting with her team.
Businesswoman having a video call meeting with her team.
Photo: Luis Alvarez/Getty Images

I’ve never looked at myself as frequently as I do these days. Before the pandemic turned me into a remote worker, I’d see my own image a few times a day — while getting ready in the morning, in the bathroom mirror, or maybe in the occasional selfie. I’m a college professor, so my job has always involved an element of performance. But teaching on Zoom, I’m not just on stage: I’m also in the audience. Inside a rectangle alongside everyone else, I’ve found myself wondering daily: Is that what I really look like?

In my own case, and those…


Why nice people are jerks online

Two people holding their phones.
Two people holding their phones.
Photo: Westend61/Getty Images

Spending an extended amount of time on the internet can feel like being in a bad relationship: You know it would be healthier to call it quits, but still, you can feel yourself being sucked in. And the longer you stay, the harder it becomes to recognize yourself.

Coming off a long, grueling election week in a long, grueling year, that feels truer now than it’s ever been: Our personas online, especially on social media, are often far from the people we want to be IRL. We pick political fights with relatives in the comments of a cousin’s Facebook post…


Man looks at his phone while sitting at his desk.
Man looks at his phone while sitting at his desk.
Photo: 10'000 Hours/Getty Images

I’ve been texting with three friends about politics since the 2020 presidential election season began back in, what was it? 1999? 2007? And I’m not sure a day has gone by without us texting about poll numbers or election anxiety.

A politics thread allows you a certain level of vulnerability and candor that Facebook doesn’t (or shouldn’t at least), yet it’s more useful and uplifting than, like, saying to your dog, “I’m cautiously optimistic about indies in Sumter County!”

It’s been the single most important source of information for me about how the election is going and about how my…


Guide To Google Drive

How to process the memories that live on our devices

Light blue filtered photo of woman upset sitting on the couch with Google Drive icons with cloud and sparkles in foreground.
Light blue filtered photo of woman upset sitting on the couch with Google Drive icons with cloud and sparkles in foreground.
Photo illustration; Image source: fizkes/Getty Images

This piece is part of How Google Drive Can Make Every Corner of Your Life Easier

If you’ve ever been in a product design meeting, you know that often, it’s impossible to predict all the ways a piece of technology will be used once it’s out in the world. Human experience is too variable.

I’d bet, for example, that Google’s product team didn’t have “grief management” as a use case on their whiteboard for Google Drive, but that’s exactly what I used it for.

I met Greg when I moved to Chicago for graduate school. We had an intense, whirlwind…


Make your social media feed more inclusive. You’ll be glad you did.

Photo: KARRASTOCK/Getty Images

Take a look at your online media consumption — do you only follow white, cisgender Americans? If so, you’re not hearing a lot of perspectives that you might really want.

As a WOC writer, I often find myself searching for structural reasons that explain why certain communities are so homogenous. Why aren’t there more people of color involved in crafting communities, or goth culture, for example? Usually the answer is some combination of erasure and exclusion.

These same forces shape the communities we form on social media. Whether your goal is to help counteract structural inequality by connecting with people…


A lot of us have new officemates: our partners. Here’s how a relationship can thrive despite the closeness.

Photo: WestEnd61/Getty Images

Now that my husband and I have been self-isolating and working together at home for more than two weeks, it’s time for a performance review.

Alex is a highly competent employee with problem-solving skills that make him a leader in the institution. He has a unique ability to work both holistically and with extreme attention to detail. Some skills Alex can work on are drinking tea less ostentatiously and lowering the volume of his constant, anguished sighs.

I already knew my husband was good at his job before coronavirus quarantine made us co-workers. I’d seen him answer emails and heard…


The therapeutic effects of building your own world

Image: Nintendo

Maybe, like me, you’ve seen some bright, cartoony landscapes dotting your Twitter feed lately. Liberally sprinkled among the grim coronavirus tweets are posts bursting with enthusiasm. Excitement. Fanaticism, in a few cases. Suddenly, it seems, people can not stop talking about Animal Crossing.

In a stroke of perfect timing, the same week many of us began our coronavirus isolations, Nintendo released Animal Crossing: New Horizons, a revamped version of the social simulation game first released in 2001. The premise is simple: You build your home on a deserted island, populate it with cute anthropomorphic animal characters, plan out the community…


It’s not as simple as just hitting delete

Photo: laflor/Getty Images

The smart-ass tweet. The intemperate blog post. The video rant. The indiscreet selfie. If you’ve been online for more than five minutes, then the odds are good that at some point, you’ve posted something you now regret.

But now, of course, that regrettable post is part of your permanent digital footprint, and undoing the damage isn’t as simple as just hitting delete.

So how do you apologize, or otherwise clean up your own mess?

Wait, do you really need to apologize?

Just because some people are angry at you online doesn’t necessarily mean you’ve done something wrong. Sometimes online outrage is simply a reflection of digital mob…

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