Proverbs for the Digital Age

Collaboration Project for MA Course "Critical Design Practices", Fall 2018. Linnea Kilpi, Elisa Defossez, Megan McGlynn, Yuanyang Zhou.
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Proverbs stick in the mind and guide our behaviors in powerful ways. As the digital world engulfs our societies and cybersecurity becomes more important, we hope these proverbs generate discussion and provide wisdom.

Our project stemmed out of these two keywords - Intimacy and Technology. Their combination was initially presented as a problem. Intimacy having been ruined by technology, rampant disconnection facing us all. As we discussed the consequences we starting thinking maybe things weren’t worse- just different. Instead of longing for days gone by the important thing would be to educate ourselves and adapt to this new cyber intimacy. To get the ball rolling on this techno-literacy we’ve created a set of proverbs for the digital age.

 

While studying the new dynamics of tech-enabled relationships we found out about the “global village,” the idea that our current hyper connected, networked reality is in some ways a return to small town community living. We also came across the idea of ambient awareness. This is the understanding we have of our peers through the constant inundation of mundane bits of their lives we receive through social media. Over time these pieces build up into something not so mundane, something fairly telling of the person. The implication of this is that we might not even really be aware of how much information we’re sharing about ourselves, our personalities, our routines.

This research led us to learn about the prevalence of cybersecurity issues. It seemed the best way to move forward with the project was some sort of public service/informational campaign. Many of these topics are things that most people are familiar with in one way or another - but are either apathetic or unaware of how prevalent the problems are.

 

This research led us to learn about the prevalence of cybersecurity issues.

It seemed the best way to move forward with the project was some sort of public service/informational campaign. Many of these topics are things that most people are familiar with in one way or another - but are either apathetic or unaware of how prevalent the problems are.  

We ended up creating a series of proverbs for the digital age. There are many ways to spread information, but short, catchy phrases can stick in the mind and guide our behaviors in powerful ways. “No use crying over spilt milk” or “practice makes perfect”: these sayings can change our mindsets. There is no specific definition or format for proverbs, they are simply a short, well-known saying stating general truth or advice. If you start to pay attention, you might be surprised how often proverbs are used in everyday conversation.  

At this point, we realize our phrases are not exactly proverbs.. because they are not well-known. This is what we are working to create. We’ve made a pamphlet, stickers, and an instagram page with short video explanations. We’re hoping to crowdsource other proverbs online, asking for input from others. In a way, this relates to our original fascination with the global village. Proverbs come from passing on knowledge to the people we know.

Some of the videos from the instagram page can be found below...

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