More and more of us are spending more and more of our time staring at screens; And it’s amazing how emotional we’ve started to get about pixels.
I’m pretty sure the last thing I see before I die will be one of those blasted spinning rainbow cursor balls. And I’m not alone (good call on the Morrissey, guys).
The latest paean to the increasing power of online graphics, text and symbols is the fascinating Tumblr “Screenshots of Despair,” a site which catalogues and re-contextualizes the sometimes inadvertently depressing images we see online, along the lines of “No one likes this” or “Are you still there?”
Inspired by New York Times columnist Rob Walker’s “Gallery of Anonymous Internet Avatars”, Screenshots of Despair creator Josh Kimball views the project as an attempt to capture the current state of the human condition, “I think the screenshots inspire pangs of real isolation. To me, the best of these screenshots are supposed to be practical social media interface elements, but they read as inadvertent commentary on one’s entire existence.”
Kimball, who is an executive editor at a trends research firm, thinks the site has caught on because it exemplifies dark nerd humor and creates broader commentary on the meaning of digital connectivity. “Everyone has felt these pangs before,” he says.
YOU HAVE NO FRIENDS.
^ See it sort of hurts, don’t it? So chew on that the next time you’re designing one of these screens … And maybe try to phrase things a bit more empathetically?