Vine + Twitter + Word Magnets, Oh, My.
Fun with Persian, one word at a time: Word Magnets!
Persian-English Word Magnets are a fun way to get the Persian language into your life. Perhaps you have some on your fridge, and have been enjoying them in the comfort of your home. That’s great! Also great: sharing your creations!
Scaling Persian with tweets and vines!
Language thrives in community. There was a time when the only job for a word magnet was to hang out on a refrigerator and chill. Today, social media is enabling word tiles to transcend the fridge and do more than any word magnets have before. Today, Persian language can scale effortlessly, becoming a meme in the collective subconscious. And our humble magnets are perfect for this moment in history. It’s so cool! And so EASY!
Check out the magnets, captured in this Vine, embedded in a Tweet, embedded in this website. And no fridge in sight. Do you see the possibilities? With these tools, not only can we have more fun, and not only will our Persian language skills improve, but we can also start to spread the Persian language throughout the world! Yes, the Persian Language can make a comeback as a “Lingua Franca”.
Setareh saw it, too. Frogs! aka qurbAqe. قورباغه https://t.co/lbUk3EWeYD— cool zabAn (@coolzaban) October 22, 2013
Remember when word magnets were just things you put on the fridge and made phrases with from time to time? The phrases were ephemeral. You’d make one, and break it apart later for another phrase. Or you would fall in love with a phrase, and not be able to break it up. The words would be frozen in that phrase. Things would stagnate. Days would pass. Months. Pictures and coupons and schedules would cover over the magnets like ivy. The words would fade into the background.
Then, friends would come over. They would remark on the words and playfulness would ensue. (Some friends would be shy, worried about doing the wrong thing. They would hang back, pretending they weren’t interested. Secretly they would long for that sweet word on word action.) Bolder friends would jump in and play and laugh or ponder. You would feel a pang as friends broke up your sentence (“Yoko!” said while shaking fist in air). But then, thoughts would be provoked. Conversations, too. Language would shine. Sociability would ensue.
And then the friends would go away. And the lights would be shut off. And the magnets would sit in the dark.
There’s nothing wrong with this picture. It’s normal magnet use. What else do you want word tiles to do? Record the unfolding musings of your life as a record for posterity and broadcast it for the world? That’s for twitter and facebook. These are magnets. They’re stuck on your fridge, physically limited and…
Ephemeral. You often have to break apart one phrase to make another one with your favorite word. Your refrigerator is more like an etch-a-sketch, than a word processor. Nothing wrong with an etch-a-sketch. Any @idiot will tell you, the sign of a master is their ability to create with one.
Good designers sketch wireframes. Great designers Etch-A-Sketch wireframes.— Visual Idiot (@idiot) November 13, 2013
But say you want a printout. And say you don’t want to be limited to the Island Fridge. Isolated. Separated from the world. What do you do then?
Language, my friends, is a living thing. Maybe not living in a biological sense, with a genetic code. But living, in a conceptual sense, with mimetic code. And like any living thing, it needs an ecosystem in which to thrive. And like any living ecosystem, when a population becomes isolated, confined on an “island”, it becomes less diverse. Impoverished. That’s what Island Biogeographers say.
In the case of Persian word magnets - the “island” is your refrigerator. And their physical form - as little tiles - makes them particles doomed to impermanence, without memory, unable to carry a story for long.
And that’s the way it was. For many years. But then something happened.
Global Language Mainland and the Network Connection
In 2006, Twitter was born. You know twitter. in 140 characters or less, billions of people blurt about their lives and the news of the day. Aside from helping with the occasional Green Revolution, what would you need Twitter for? Beeta’s Professor thinks it’s pointless, too. Here, let me embed his tweet:
"You have a twitter??? What could you possibly have to say that demands a twitter?????"—my professor, who is truly on point.— Beeta (@beetasays) October 30, 2013
Is that cool or what! Now, if you have a twitter account, you could retweet that right here. Or follow @Beetasays by clicking that button in the embedded tweet. They keep improving the service. It’s so hyperlinkable! You can pick up a conversation and weave it in ANYWHERE!
And that’s not all. Do you have a smart phone? iPhone was introduced in:
And in January of this year, 2013, we got vine.
January 2013—Twitter launched Vine, an app that lets users shoot and share 6-second looping videos. It has since acquired more than 13 million followers, who fill their followers’ feeds with delightfully strange video creations.
Connection is the antidote to isolation. Your word creations long to interact with the big, bad, wonderful, crazy world. They long to connect you to it. They want to frolic in the sun of the internet and compete with crazy memes out there. They want to invade the cat memes (one imagines a kitty cat batting around a “mush - موش ” magnet).
Never before has it been possible to link up all the isolated language islands out there, and launch a powerful, resonnating, expanding force on the world.
The Fridge is your Sandbox. The Internet is the global arena. Unleash the magnets!
In fact, the fridge is but one sandbox. With smartphones and vine and other apps around, you can capture the magnets - and any other media you choose to mix in - in any venue. You can take pictures of them in context, in the world. You can hyperlink them. They are one more element that you can play with - one more brick in the cathedral of imagination (er…masjed?)
"Tell me about Twitter, Dad." "Well son, we would piece together the news of the day by reading strangers' decontextified jokes about it."— Conor Pope (@Conorpope) October 8, 2012
Smartest Generation Ever
It has never been so easy! Today we have facebook and google+ and pinterest and instagram and twitter. Some people say the kids today are turning into these video game addicted zombies. The truth is the opposite. Per “The dumbest generation? No, Twitter is making kids smarter ”
In fact, there’s powerful evidence that digital tools are helping young people write and think far better than in the past.”
“But technology doesn’t just make students better writers or more fluent. Digital tools also let them communicate easily with others – their peers, their friends and the world at large. And this, it turns out, can make them even more powerfully motivated to become genuinely (and wittily) literate.”
Part of what makes the online environment so powerful, as Prof. Lunsford says, is that it provides a sense of purpose: “[Students are] writing things that have an impact on the world – that other people are reading and responding to.”
One reason students phone in their school assignments – and only halfheartedly copy edit and research them – is that they’re keenly aware that there’s no “authentic audience.” Only the teacher is reading it. In contrast, academic studies have found that whenever students write for other actual, live people, they throw their back into the work – producing stuff with better organization and content, and nearly 40 per cent longer than when they write for just their instructor.
...“They realized they were writing for a global audience,”
Back when I first designed these magnets, in order to get this effect:
I had to use css and html, or java script, or what not. And I couldn’t then copy the image and email it to you. It was stuck in my website.
For now, check out this gif from Brett Stevens.