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The joy of Friday Jr.

My friend Sally and I are kind of obsessed with Bitmojis. We send them back and forth to each other a lot, and delight in finding new ones that are particularly silly and/or useful.

For example, here’s our exchange from the first time I completed the New York Times crossword:

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And here’s the start of a Monday morning text convo:

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And one from earlier this week:

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But our all-time favorite Bitmoji, hands down, is the Friday Jr. Bitmoji.

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After Sally discovered it a couple of years ago, we started sending it to each other every week. One of us would text our version of it, and then the other would reply with her version of it. We do this pretty much every Thursday and it…never gets old. As Sally put it, “I feel like Thursdays were already just conceptually great, but in a way that we didn’t as a culture fully appreciate until Friday Jr. was invented.”

We also can’t get over the idea of calling the day before a different day “junior,” and have taken to applying the underlying logic to many other dates and events. Consider this: Christmas Eve is actually Christmas Jr. (And December 23 is Christmas Eve Jr.) Saturday is Sunday Jr. and May is Pride Jr.

The junior convention has caught on in our bigger friend group, and our partners now use it regularly too. (My favorite Friday Jr. exchange was the time I texted Sally the Bitmoji — fairly early on in our FJ history, if I recall correctly — and she replied that at the exact moment my text came through, her wife had said, unprompted from across the room, “Hey girl — it’s Friday Jr.” )

I enjoy Bitmoji unironically; I like texting, but sometimes it’s hard to communicate “I received your message, and I feel neutral-posi toward its contents” without having tone and body language to rely on. And if you text a lot, there are only so many times you can say “ooh” in reply to something before you start to worry it looks like you’re not paying attention. A well-deployed Bitmoji helps! Also, a lot of my friends have mentioned that they find Bitmojis are particularly helpful for communicating with parents — particularly parents whose first language isn’t English — and other family members.

I asked Sally to share her thoughts on Bitmojis as I was working on this, and here’s what she said:


"Sometimes Bitmoji express feelings that I otherwise wouldn't know how to express — like you know that joke where people are like ‘what is the German word for [complex feeling with five different distinct constituent feelings]’? This is a thing Bitmoji do SO well — encapsulate feelings comprised of a cool 5-6 distinct feelings.

For example you have 'I H8 U' with a pic of your Bitmoji smiling gleefully. You have 'I helped' and one of the E's is backwards which is perfect for expressing 'I tried to help and I fucked it all up, my bad, but give me credit for helping.' Then you have the ones where the Bitmoji is doing the reaction WITH the emoji of that reaction — so like laughing so hard you're crying and one hand is on the laughing-so-hard-you're-crying emoji.

Also the fact that there are three different versions of a hump day Bitmoji — so that you can express exhaustion, elation, or perseverance — is truly amazing because those are the three ways to feel about Wednesdays which I didn't realize till Bitmoji told me!

The other thing they are amazing for is if you are communicating with someone who REALLY GETS YOU, you can use a weird Bitmoji and the person will so get the spirit in which you mean it. It just gives you another way to express yourself."

I would love for some enterprising tech journalists to do a deep dive on how Bitmoji designs happen — the main people responsible for them, which ones are the most popular, which ones users hated, which ones caused the most internal debate, etc. — and I would love to know who is responsible for our beloved Friday Jr. and what inspired them.

Until then, happy Friday Jr.! ✨

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Toward a more perfect home screen

When I saw this photo from Courtney Carver / Be More With Less pop up in my Instagram feed last August, I was...lightly shocked?! To be honest, I didn’t even know what I was looking at at first; my eyes needed time to adjust. After staring at it for a few seconds, I realized it was an iPhone with a home screen that had been entirely cleared of apps. I guess I could have reasoned that one could do this, if one wanted to, but I’d genuinely never seen anything like it.


This is what Courtney wrote in the photo’s caption about her setup:


“No apps on the home screen or placed in neatly labeled containers. Nope. All apps are in one folder (see lower right of my screen). I open my apps (when I want to) by swiping right and typing the app name in the search bar. That way I'm not tempted because I see an app icon.”


(BTW, the caption has several other tips for practicing good digital hygiene and is worth reading in full!)


When I saw the photo, I had already buried Facebook and Twitter deep enough in my phone that I essentially forgot about them / stopped using them, but this photo made me consider whether there were any other apps that needed to go. There was: Instagram. I was finding myself reaching for it more and more last year for a couple reasons. First, because it was there. But also because I’d turned on notifications after several years of not having them. I did it because I was getting tagged in more Stories, particularly from people who were posting about my book, and if I didn’t open the app for 24 hours, I wouldn’t see the story they had tagged me in or be able to reply/thank them. The problem was that I was now getting notifications about all my DMs, many of which weren’t that important but were still super distracting. (I am the kind of person who can’t stand having a notification badge!)

All that to say: seeing this photo on Instagram gave me the push I needed to move Instagram off my home screen and bury it in a folder so it was a couple swipes away. (I replaced it on my home screen with Headspace.) I didn’t turn off IG notifications but I didn’t need to; the effect was immediate and dramatic. Turns out, when the red notification badge isn’t on my home screen, it doesn’t bother me nearly as much. I really like Instagram (the main feed anyway) so I was genuinely shocked by how little I thought about or cared about it when it wasn’t just there.  

After moving the Instagram app, I also cleaned up my home screen a little bit. I figured I wasn’t going to achieve home screen minimalism overnight, but I could start moving in that direction. So I deleted/buried more apps and made two rows of additional space on my home screen. Here’s how it currently looks:

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(If I swipe right, the screen has just two rows of icons: five folders with apps + three standalone apps.)

It’s not totally minimalist, but I feel good about where things are / my relationship with my phone at the moment!

Some related things:

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Tiny party tip: change your guest Wi-Fi network name to something fun/relevant before you host

Image: Kiyana Salkeld / Just Good Shit

Image: Kiyana Salkeld / Just Good Shit

Here’s a cute idea that I picked up from my friend Tashween: if you’re having a party or hosting out-of-town guests, change the name of your guest Wi-Fi network and the password to something related to the event, and then give everyone the info in the invitation (and/or at the gathering itself).

For example, when I threw a potato party in March 2015, I named the guest Wi-Fi network Starch Madness, and the password was something like tatersgonnatate. More recently, I’ve just been making the network name the name of the party itself, and then doing a cute/relevant/easy to type but still secure password.

Is changing your guest network name absolutely necessary? Of course not. Is it silly and fun and a cute way to pre-game your gathering? It is! It’s also also a subtle flex, implying that you have your shit together enough to actually know your internet provider login information, and can therefore easily change your Wi-Fi password whenever you feel like it. Your parents’ “6hNq_27vhUo5nME” could never. ✨

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Tiny life tip: use your iPhone’s photo search function more

Here’s an extremely small tip that might make your life slightly easier if you ever find yourself scrolling through iPhone photos for a very long time trying to unearth a specific photo you know is on your phone somewhere: you can search your iPhone photos by date! The search button is at the bottom right whenever you’re looking at your photos.

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So, for example, if you wanted to look at all of your Christmas photos, you could type “December” in the search bar and be shown all the photos you took in any December ever. And if you wanted to look at your Christmas photos from a specific year, you could type “December 2015” in the search bar and limit your search results even further. As long as you know roughly when you took/saved a photo, it’s a super helpful shortcut.

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You can also search for things that are in the photos — like, say, “dog” — but I’ve found that’s far less reliable, and that searching by date is ultimately more likely to be successful! 📸

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