Have you ever considered how many social media accounts you own? Probably most of them. Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are the must have. We all use them every day, checking for new posts, pictures, updating our profiles and the most important, communicating with our friends, family, or lovers. Few days ago, I came up with the project from Teyosh (Sofija Stanković and Teodora Stojković) with the name “Dictionary of Online Behavior” and I found myself questioning and at the same time observing, the way we communicate with people we care, or working with, has amazingly changed in this new digital era.

More specific, Dictionary of Online Behavior is an online interactive project that started in December of 2013. It’s purpose is to create new terms and definitions about our online behavior, visualized with a very unique playful and accurate style, giving you the feeling that Sofija and Teodora had hacked through our messaging history and our brains, the moment we have that “trillification” (noun: thrill about getting notifications) or the moment we are “Half-seeing” (verb:  Not open the messages all the way unless you are in the mood to reply). While I was discovering more about this dictionary and learning the new terms, that Sofija and Teodora brought to life so smartly, I started a conversation with them about their work and the future of communication, to find out even more about this “subject”, that had transformed more like a “phenomenon” the past few years.

Hello Teodora and Sofija, how are you today?

Both: Good!

How did you took the decision to start working together and create the design duo TeYosh?

Sofija: We started working together at a very young age when we were both at the beginning of our studies. We studied at different universities and had quite different tasks. Some of these tasks were quite limiting, so we were helping each other by working together and pushing the limits of what was expected to do in a task. Since then whenever we are confronted with a new project we try to make it meaningful and challenge each other to think further and beyond limits. It has always been about challenge for the two of us.

Tell me more about TeYosh, the origins of the name and what TeYosh is all about. Is it the begging of your own design studio? 

Sofija: The name came up while we were half asleep in the hot sun on the beach in Greece and thought of this mix of the two nicknames we had at that time. It wasn’t very well thought through, but it sounded nice. We were quite young and now we are stuck with this name that we’re not even sure what we think of, but is still very dear.

Teodora: Yes, it is the beginning. We started working together during BA studies in Belgrade and then moved to Amsterdam to study MA together at Gerrit Rietveld Academy. We were told that we were the first duo in the history of school to be accepted.

What was the thought or the idea that inspired you to start creating the Dictionary of Online Behavior?

Teodora: Our projects always come from our talks, from observing our surroundings. We are both quite analytical and are into defining things, with a special interest for modern psychology. When we moved to a different part of Europe, we continued our relations with people through social networks. After some time we realized how our perception of  people that we know in person has started changing, because we are no longer talking or meeting with them but are updated about their lives through their timelines. That happened especially with acquaintances. They stopped existing in our lives as flesh and blood people and continued their existence as digital, well­curated, real-time presentations. We started noticing their self-presentation online, and the old picture that we had of them started fading. Some people present themselves quite differently online, in our project we named it e­Zophrenia.

Sofija: We have also come into realizing our own relationship to social networks. Sometimes it felt like a burden and sometime as a support. We felt a general confusion of what it represents for us. We couldn’t decide what we feel about time spent on social networks. Is it part of our social life or fun time or does the time spent editing our online self help us find and define ourselves? Is it worth investing time in it? What kind of impact does it have on others? We were faced with a world that is rapidly changing and accepting these changes as if they were always there. Some new terms such as selfie entered our vocabulary, so we wanted to explore more and define some new words.

It feels like this project is a fun and cleaver way, combined with amazing visuals, to display the way we communicate today through social media, but I think you want to introduce a “bigger idea” with this dictionary, am i right?

Sofija: Yes, the bigger idea is that we have a whole life happening on social networks, and it takes more and more of our time, and makes more impact on our lives, so we felt the need to take a critical view and by defining new terms predict the direction in which our communication is going. Whether it is good or bad, we should be aware of how it changed and where it’s heading.

How was the process to create new terms and definitions but also visualize them? 

Teodora: It took a long time. There are many stuff happening out there in our digital social life. A certain phenomenon would first catch our attention, then we had to decide if it is widespread and worth defining. Art direction and animation is what we do, so visualization came instantly and naturally. Coining the word was always the hardest. They were changing a lot. We wanted them to be associative and easy to use in a sentence.

While looking through the dictionary and also the video you had created about the project I became very skeptical about the meaning of communication and how it has changed. What’s your opinion about that, what do you think the future of communication will be like? 

Sofija: In consumerist society, as it is, there is always tendency for MORE. It seems that people are giving priority to networking and having more contacts, more followers, more likes, rather than engaging into a few meaningful relationships. Communication has become shallower and people are less patient. You no longer meet a person and figure out slowly what she is all about you simply go to her Facebook or Instagram and find out everything you wanted to know. We coined a term for that as well, we defined it as Instameet.

Teodora: Social networks to me sometimes seem almost as flea markets of people, there tons to choose from. So people don’t hold onto each other so strongly, they lose interest on the first sign of someone not fitting perfectly. Also there is not such a big excitement about meeting someone new, since everybody is so easily approachable.

So, to make the big question: Do you think that social media improved the communication between us? Did they really brought people closer? 

Sofija: The answer to the first question has to be yes and no at the same time. No because of everything we already talked about. But on the other hand there are a lot of people who either because they are introverted or because they don’t live in the environment they feel comfortable in, will find their comfort and express themselves more successfully through social networks. Even having anonymous twitter account can be such a relief. Social networks are also making migration a bit easier since we can stay in touch with dear people. We have also met a few good friends with help of social networks.

Teodora: I wouldn’t say that social networks are bringing people closer. Yes, they facilitate the communication between people, but they are also quite isolating. People feel less­worthy because of the perfect self-presentation of their online friends.  What happens as well is that we simply spend less time with each other and lose focus on each other because we are constantly bombed by their timelines.

Thank you very much Sofija and Teodora
Dont Forget to check the Dictionary of Online Behavior project here

 

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