Link Party: 11/28-12/2

If you're in LA or near it, go see the Picasso and Rivera show at LACMA.
If you’re in LA or near it, go see the Picasso and Rivera show at LACMA. It’s beautiful. 

What I’ve read lately:

1. The film J.D. Salinger nearly made of “For Esme, With Love and Squalor.”

2. New York’s dying diner culture.

3. Confessions of an Instagram influencer.

4. FiveThirtyEight asked 8,500 people why they leave comments on the Internet.

5. Donald Crowhurst’s heartbreaking 1969 circumnavigation hoax.

And a bonus: Wes Anderson‘s Christmas ad for H&M.

Have a terrific week.

Link Party: 10/29-11/20

My favorite daily reminder.
My favorite daily reminder.

There hasn’t been much Link Partying around here lately. I need to fix that, and I promise to be more consistent in the last few weeks of 2016 and into 2017.

Here’s a party to last you all week. Take your pick:

1. An interview with Frank Ocean.

2. Zadie Smith on the dancers that inspire her. (I can’t wait to read Swing Time.)

3. An American journalist spends 10 years abroad and comes back to his homeland.

4. Hillary Clinton and the glass ceiling.

5. Hamilton Leithauser and Rostam‘s collaboration.

6. The barnacle queens of Galicia.

7. Instagram geotagging is ruining nature.

8. Yet another brilliant conversation with Elena Ferrante.

9. The wave of all-women art exhibitions.

10. The preserved shipwrecks in the Black Sea.

11. President Obama on his legacy and America’s future.

12. Behind the scenes at the Butterball turkey hotline.

Have a great week.

Link Party: 8/22-8/26

Last weekend I went to a little place called Lotusland. Stay tuned.
Last weekend I went to a little place called Lotusland. Stay tuned.

Quick question: where did August go? This summer has felt like a rubber band — one minute it feels like it’s been the longest summer of my life, while the next seems like yesterday was just the first of March.

Here’s what I read this week:

1. If you’re interested, this article from a former Gawker editor-in-chief explains the outlet’s demise very well.

2. Inside Urban Outfitters.

3. Conversations with Chance the Rapper.

4. The story of Pandora’s famous charm bracelet.

5. Instagram’s geotags as powerful travel guides.

And a bonus: If you’re in need of a new body lotion, this one is a game changer. I smell like the prettiest beach on earth.

Enjoy your weekend.

Link Party: 4/11-4/15

I missed this. I missed this a lot.
I missed this. I missed this a lot.

I had a great week, and I hope you did too. Here’s what I read:

1. This is a fascinating read on Minecraft and the kids that play it.

2. Instagram is ruining vacation.

3. What working at Sephora is like.

4. The miniskirt‘s unabashedly feminist history.

5. A conversation with Elena Ferrante.

And a bonus: An awesome newsletter named “A Woman to Know.”

Have a great weekend.

 

Link Party: 3/28-4/1

On Monday, I started a new job at my alma mater as a communications specialist. I am so, so happy to be back.
On Monday, I started a new job at my alma mater as a communications specialist. I am so, so happy to be back.

Here’s what I read this week:

1. The zen of the Buzzfeed Tasty video.

2. Hillary Clinton, “superpredators” and the deep roots of mass incarceration in the United States.

3. Lost in Trumplandia. (This is very, very good.)

4. The most important sentence on this article about Instagram’s switch to an algorithmic feed: “Our current version of the internet lives and breaths off a currency of human attention.”

5. The craving for public squares.

And a bonus: This David Bowie gifset made me laugh. What a dude.

Have a wonderful weekend.

Link Party: 2/15-2/19

Seeing the sky open up on my way to work one morning made up for the time I spent in torrential downpour traffic.
Seeing the sky open up on my way to work one morning made up for the time I spent in torrential downpour traffic.

Here’s what I read this week:

1. This article about Tumblr teens was wild at every turn.

2. I’ve never been a huge fan of Buzzfeed’s content (besides a really great podcast called Another Round), but I’ve always found their business strategies and virality fascinating. Read this interview with Buzzfeed’s publisher and you’ll see what I mean.

3. The world of Instagram-famous animals.

4. The obsession with Neko Atsume: Kitty Collector.

5. I loved this article about reproductions on display in art museums, so much so that it inspired me to write a post about something I had kind of forgotten about — stay tuned.

And a bonus: Kanye West’s “Wolves,” illustrated. (I’m still trying to collect my thoughts on “The Life Of Pablo.”)

Have a great weekend.

Link Party: 2/1-2/5

Sunsets, man.
Sunsets, man.

This has been another week where I don’t know where my time went. Sometimes I panic over when and what I post and feel guilty when I don’t meet my own deadlines, but I think the actual publishing act is truly what matters most. I’m proud of myself for making the effort to get my words and ideas out into space, and I hope you feel the same way when you do whatever it is to feel creatively fulfilled.

Here’s what I read last week:

1. I don’t want to spoil this fiction piece for you, so I’m not even gonna tell you what it is about. Just read it.

2. This is a very, very good profile of Winona Ryder.

3. I soaked up every single word of this short interview with Ina Garten. This is an Ina Garten appreciation blog.

4. This article about the Yves Bouvier affair and how he made millions of dollars through art trading is bonkers.

5. And on the eighth day, God created content.

And a bonus: I have this thing with decorated papers.

Have a great week.

Link Party: 1/25-1/29

Homemade peanut butter cookies.
My mom makes really good peanut butter cookies.

Here’s what I read this week:

1. The performance of race, gender and identity on Vine. If you use or know of Vine, you should read this.

2. This story about the role of Facebook’s community standards for the Internet brings up some important questions about Facebook and the public.

3. The world of fake books.

4. I 100 percent agree with this article in defense of Instagramming your food.

5. Let’s talk about the cognitive gap in spatial skills between men and women.

And two bonuses: “Wood” from Rostam Batmanglij is such a good song. I’ve been following the poet and artist Cleo Wade on Instagram for awhile, and lately I’ve found her posts particularly inspiring.

Have a great weekend.

Think Tank: Instagram’s Embrace of Landscape and Portrait Photos

Hey look, you can upload non-square photos to Instagram now and nothing gets cut off!
Hey look, now you can upload non-square photos to Instagram and nothing gets cut off!

Instagram announced today that in addition to its signature square posts, the app will now allow users to upload  photos and videos in both portrait and landscape orientations. Prior to this change, users made their whole photos fit by using other apps to add borders. Instagram realized that 20 percent of its users use these apps extensively out of protest, and decided to lift the square-only requirement.

I guess  I don’t really have an outright problem with this. I use Instagram regularly, and I guess it’ll be nice to expand my photography choices if I choose. It’s Instagram’s prerogative to change its app when it pleases, and you can always delete the app when you don’t like it. But I think that beyond the obvious “a very popular app has done something significant to its user interface,” there are some points worth exploring.

Because people sign up for Instagram and agree to its terms, Instagram by default controls at least part of the overall aesthetics. You can’t really change the layout or theme of your profile beyond the photos you upload, but you can edit these as you please. And despite this change in the aesthetic that Instagram governs,  you can still add your own borders and do what you like to your photos — there’s nothing prohibiting you from continuing to operate as if square is the only option. You still have as much freedom over your own Instagram feed that Instagram has decided to give you — in fact, even more if you decide to embrace the change. And I do appreciate that this move gives more artistic freedom to photographers who use the app to share their art, which is a fantastic effort.

But this kind of seems like policing in the guise of aesthetic freedom. Now when you see a non-square photo on your feed, the white border a user would have added for a portrait or landscape-oriented photo is either added or deleted to the UI, which to me seems like a subtle recapturing. Adding borders within the design options and keeping the square-only ethos would have been a viable option for Instagram, like how they developed Hyperlapse and Layout to edge out the competition. This is entirely speculation on my part, but it seems that Instagram got tired of its users outsourcing and tried to take back even more power. It’s also probably a business move, so that advertisers can do even more. At the user’s level, you can now devote more time to uploading content and contributing to Instagram’s position in the zeitgeist, uncropped photos and all.

 

This is also an interesting comment on the clout of the App in 2015, and how something like Instagram affects our daily life. This decision to abandon the square-only format made headlines, alongside analysis of today’s stock market and recalls for bread. This was such a shift in the way we think about social media and photography that it made the Wall Street Journal’s coverage, which noted that “Instagram’s move coincides with consumers increasingly purchasing smart phones with larger screens that provide a better mobile viewing experience for widescreen videos.”  Today’s smartphones also  have options to take square photos — which wasn’t a coincidence. A few people will still continue to use apps like Squaready and Afterlight, but I’m curious to know how these apps will bounce back from such a shift. There might be a resurgence in standard photography, or maybe the square has captured our attention so tightly that we won’t even notice the difference.

I might be crazy, and this might not actually mean much in the way we share photos on Instagram. But what do you think? Let’s talk about it in the comments.

 

Link Party: 5/18-5/22

Downtown L.A., y'all.
Downtown L.A., y’all.

Here’s what I read this week:

1. My favorite Mad Men series finale review.

2. Instagram is turning us all into sociopaths.

3. An inside look at Thought Catalog, which is a lot more terrible than I originally had thought or anticipated.

4. I gotta say, this article about online journalism is #duh.

5. I fully agree that there should be trigger warning on some things, but when you start slapping them all over classic literature you run into Problems.

And a bonus: Why Americans love road trips, courtesy of the wonderful PBS Idea Channel.

Have a great weekend!