social media illustrations

Fake news stories can have real-life consequences. On Sunday, police said a man with a rifle who claimed to be “self-investigating” a baseless online conspiracy theory entered a Washington, D.C., pizzeria and fired the weapon inside the restaurant.

So yes, fake news is a big problem.

These stories have gotten a lot of attention, with headlines claiming Pope Francis endorsed Donald Trump in November’s election and sites like American News sharing misleading stories or taking quotes out of context. And when sites like DC Gazette share stories about people, who allegedly investigated the Clinton family, being found dead, the stories go viral and some people believe them. Again, these stories are not true in any way.

Stopping the proliferation of fake news isn’t just the responsibility of the platforms used to spread it. Those who consume news also need to find ways of determining if what they’re reading is true. 

Fake Or Real? How To Self-Check The News And Get The Facts

Illustration: Guido Rosa/Ikon Images/Getty Images

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Some modern day Hamilton. Credit to @astroidbelt for the Angelica Take a Break text post, X, I laughed for like five minutes straight after reading it. I  wanted to draw Hamilton with a man bun and cute outfits because theirs way too much pain and suffering in act two

Currently, I’m taking a complete break from Social Media to focus on bigger projects and my progress. For this experiment, I temporarily deactivated my accounts on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to take the pressure off my shoulders and cancel the noise. They will be back soon.

For commissions and questions feel free to use the contact sheet on my website or shoot me an email.

Networking: You’re Doing It Wrong

I see a lot of people saying, “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know” - and in part, that’s true. But I have yet to see a successful explanation of how to know the “right people.” So I’m going to try.

First, do good work, and be a good person. Like, this always holds true - anyone with a modicum of sense knows that.  

So I’m just going to cover how to get your good work seen.

The most common advice I see is “put yourself out there.” That means:

  • Make a website.
  • Get on social media.
  • Go to conventions.
  • Basically, stick your work in front of everyone possible, every place possible.

Right. That’s all important. But that’s only step one.

I’ve got a huge network, and I generally don’t have a problem finding opportunities. … but get this, I’m actually an introvert. It’s not that I hate people, it just that maintaining relationships requires energy (and about once a month, I hole up in my room for a weekend to recharge).

There are generally two approaches to all problem-solving, “go wide” and “go deep.” The common advice is to go wide - people will remember your work after seeing it 100,000 times.  If you’re lucky, someone will remember. If you’re not, you’ll sink into that cloud of online noise and people who draw just like you and like the same things as you.  

My advice is “go deep.” That’s where my energy goes.

The core of networking is getting people to remember you, so they think of you when a good opportunity comes up. Since people are generally empathetic, the easiest way to do that is to remember them back.  Give time and energy to your newly-formed relationships - or else your image will fade like a 30-second commercial on Hulu. Here are my tips:

Most importantly, take the time to remember faces, remember names, and remember what they need.  Just the core of getting to know someone, really, knowing them as a person.  If you’re not good at remembering things, practice with celebrity faces, do some memory games. Remember, people are people, not just job gatekeepers!  

  • Go out of the way to remember seemingly irrelevant things they’d told you (don’t pressure them) like where they are from, what they like to eat, if they have pets, and what their favorite shows are. Try to find common ground that’s not work.  Be humorous, be intelligent. If you have a conversation about something other than “get me a job,” you will be more likely to remember each other.
  • If you can, truly dedicate a chunk of your brain to the new person.  Don’t be afraid to make the first move to show you want to invest time in this relationship, especially if they’re new in town.  Take them to your favorite restaurant.  Invite them to your next house party.  Suggest seeing a new movie. Or simply say, “i really like how you did [such-and-such] and would love to be a part of it. if you need more help, e-mail me.” (Caveat: small group gatherings in public places are wiser, otherwise things can be misconstrued and go into weird and possible squicky romantic territory.)
  • Go ahead and follow fan pages, blogs, and public sites, but don’t cold-add people on personal social media (ie, a private Facebook) if you haven’t had a conversation with them. Relationships, even networking ones, are largely about privacy and trust. That “follow for follow” thing is bullshit, don’t even try.
  • If your name is super common, hard to spell, or otherwise hard to remember, you might want to make it easier for the other party to remember by coming up with an easily searchable handle.  Things such as puns and common words work well (people remember my friend “ProdigyBombay” years after she stopped posting).
  • Even if it’s been years, don’t forget people. It shows people you give a damn.  Social media is great for this.
  • Finally, remember the setting and space you’re in. And respect peoples’ privacy. Don’t assume someone exists simply so you can get something from them. Showing your portfolio is what’s expected during a review, but not a bar unless they ask to see it.  And if someone doesn’t want to give you information, don’t pry. You wouldn’t make your friends owe you anything, so why should you do that to someone you just met?

Great, so you kinda know a bunch of people, now what?

There are two economic theories I’d like to introduce to you: “Giver, Taker, Matcher” Theory and “Tit for Two Tats” Paradigm. Read these two links before continuing because I’m going to talk as if you know what they are.

  • Giver, Taker, Matcher suggests there are three kinds of people in the world: those who give, those who take, and those who match. Be a smart giver.  If you only take opportunities, no one will want to help you because you’ll be seen as a selfish ass.  Givers try to give opportunities to everyone. Most people are matchers who will “do unto others” - so they’ll take if you’re a taker but they’ll give if you’re a giver.  So if you are a giver surrounded by matchers and other givers, things will be given to you. Those so-called “impenetrable industry circles” are really groups of givers and matches who trust each other and therefore give to each other (you know, like groups of friends).
  • Tit for Two Tats is an iterated prisoner’s dilemma scenario which helps protect you as a giver. If you’re surrounded by takers, you’ll be well, taken advantage of. Be a giver in your first impression, because matchers and other givers will immediately give to you. But if you’re taken from, give once again - because hey, sometimes people are down on their luck and they simply can’t help you out. And a friend who only helps when you can help them back isn’t reliable.  However, if the pattern of taking repeats a lot, cut off your giving before that person hurts you.
  • So I’m saying, yes, sometimes you might actually want to work for exposure or for cheap. The world is full of takers who will leave you high and dry, but if you know someone is a matcher or a giver, it might just be worth it to do that discount job.  Good examples would be for a high-profile Kickstarter or charity, although most reliable for-profit businesses should offer to pay.  When doing small personal stuff for friends, I charge a nominal fee of about $10/hr. This works out pretty well by giving me motivation, and friends help keep friends fed. (Note, corporations who use your work for profit are not the same as your friends and for professional jobs the rate is the rate is the rate.)
  • Since we are all limited by physical and temporal resources, give your help when it’s needed most. Go out of you want to see the friend who’s in town for a only day.  Pick up that sad soul stranded at LAX (thank you, i love you, rollaine).  You don’t need to hang out every day to maintain a meaningful friendship, but a real friend is there when it counts.

Finally, once you’re comfortable with that person and have a reliable relationship, don’t be afraid to ask for work, especially when an opportunity really interests you and doubly especially if someone straight-up asks you to apply (this includes open calls for art).  Not everyone knows who needs work at what point in time, so making note of your status is totally allowable.  Your friends can’t help you if they don’t know you want help.  But if they do know already, don’t be bothersome.  You’re letting someone know your availability, not demanding they give you a job.

So yeah, that’s essentially the “going deep” part to networking - dedicate the same mental energy to whom you’ve met as you’d want dedicated to you!  And that includes not being a shitty, take-y person.

tl;dr - To network properly, don’t approach people like you want them to get your a job.  Approach them like you want to make a new friend. And don’t be a shitty friend.

Have you mastered any languages other than your native tongue? Would you like to?

If the answer to at least one of those questions is a ‘yes’, this is a place for you!

I’m looking for people from all around the World that would like to share their knowledge about languages that they use daily and do it in a simple, logical and actually, the correct way, unlike the standard textbooks that people of all ages lose hours mulling over!

Why you should give it a go?

There is a great deal of reasons for learning a new language, it

  • improves your employability
  • makes you discover a new culture 
  • increases your brain power
  • is bound to impress more than a few people around you ;)
  • and helps you become more open-minded 

Also, by joining the Get Fluent! Network you have a chance to meet new people and develop life-long friendships all around the globe even before you go abroad.

If you are interested in becoming a part of this social project of mine, please reblog this post and tag it with the language you are fluent in (English counts as well!)

By now, you’ve probably heard about one very real consequence of fake news — the infamous “Pizzagate” conspiracy theory that ended with Edgar Welch, 28, firing a real gun inside a real Washington, D.C., pizzeria filled with real people.

When The New York Times later asked Welch what he thought when he realized there were no child slaves inside the restaurant, as one fake news story had led him to believe, he responded: “The intel on this wasn’t 100 percent.”

Welch isn’t the only one struggling to tell fact from fiction in this digital age. A recent Stanford study found that America’s middle, high school and college students are shockingly bad at it, too. It’s clear that something has to change in the nation’s classrooms. That something, according to Professor Sam Wineburg, one of those Stanford researchers, is “practice.”

“How do they become prepared to make the choices about what to believe, what to forward, what to post to their friends,” Wineburg asked on NPR’s All Things Considered, “when they’ve been given no practice in school?”

And he’s right. Many schools — perhaps most — aren’t doing nearly enough to help students learn how to sort fact from social-media fiction. But some are.

The Classroom Where Fake News Fails

Illustration: Hanna Barczyk for NPR

Mark Zuckerberg — one of the most insightful, adept leaders in the business world — has a problem. It’s a problem he has been slow to acknowledge, even though it’s become more apparent by the day.

Several current and former Facebook employees tell NPR there is a lot of internal turmoil about how the platform does and doesn’t censor content that users find offensive. And outside Facebook, the public is regularly confounded by the company’s decisions — around controversial posts and around fake news.

(Did Pope Francis really endorse Donald Trump? Does Hillary Clinton really have a body double?)

Behind whatever the controversy of the moment happens to be, there’s a deep-seated problem. The problem is this: At age 19, the then-boy genius started a social network that was basically a tech-savvy way to check out classmates in school. Then, over the course of 12 years, he made some very strategic decisions that have morphed Facebook into the most powerful distributor on Earth — the new front page of the news for more than 1 billion people every day. But Zuckerberg didn’t sign up to head a media company — as in, one that has to make editorial judgments.

From Hate Speech To Fake News: The Content Crisis Facing Mark Zuckerberg

Illustration: Chelsea Beck/NPR

Editor’s Note: This story contains images and language that some readers may find disturbing.

It’s tempting to think of Facebook as pure entertainment — the dumb game you play when your boss looks away, or your date goes to the bathroom. But that’s underestimating how powerful the Facebook empire has become. For some, the app is more important than a driver’s license. People need it to contact colleagues, or even start and build businesses.

It’s hard to know how many people rely on Facebook for work, but NPR interviewed dozens who do. Their stories reveal an unsettling fact: This Silicon Valley giant — one that has woven its way into the lives of more than a billion people — can be a black box, silent about how it makes decisions.

While some have been frustrated about censorship, for a number of users, there is another concern — livelihood.

Building, And Losing, A Career On Facebook

Illustration: Lily Padula for NPR

American Girls
TIME Magazine

For this article about teenage girls and social media, I was given the opportunity to illustrate something very familiar. Part of the article tells about a group of teenagers hanging out at the Boca Raton mall in South Florida, near where I grew up. I know the aesthetic of the sun-bleached teenagers in this area all too well, and I enjoyed painting them as though from memory. The article itself painted teenage girls as too connected to their online “brand”, no longer concerned with introspection and daydreaming. But I lived there, and I was definitely the introspective sort, and I think plenty of girls still are. So my picture shows one girl off on her own, considering her reflection, lost in thought.