I was on the Steemit Bloggers Discord page and we were discussing emoticons. Well, I say “we”, but really it was me rambling on about them like the nutter on the bus that no-one wants to make eye-contact with. And I say “emoticons”, but that’s because I am nearly fifty and I am not keeping up with stuff like this. I was actually discussing emojis.
I would like to say, in my defence, I have had manflu for five days and have not left the house. It is possible I have gone a little stir crazy. I was discussing this very point with the fridge only this morning, and we both agreed it was probably true.
I am not very keen on emojis. We have this tried and tested way of communicating called “words”, and these have served us well for several millennia. Text speak was bad enough. And confusing, too. Many people have mistaken “LOL” for “lots of love”, and then used it to respond to the news of a bereavement. Which is really funny, admittedly, but shows how confusing new ways of conversing can be.
The first use of an emoticon (using keyboard grammar symbols to convey basic emotions like :) for instance) goes back to 1972, although it has been suggested Abe Lincoln may have been linked to the very first usage back in 1862! He really was a man ahead of his time.
They started to become popular in the late 90s as mobile phones became commonplace, but in the last ten years or so, the battle to communicate using symbols has been won by the emoji.
Emojis are a Japanese invention, started in 1990 by a designer called Shigetaka Kurita, and were used solely by Japanese people until the late noughties. The first iPhone, in 2007, had a hidden keyboard of emojis to appeal to the Japanese market, but was soon discovered by Western users, and from there has grown to be a global phenomenon.
Nowadays, there is a veritable smorgasbord of picture-based communications options. I would imagine that it is possible to have an entire conversation without words.
Why would you want to, though?
I am more than aware I am showing my age here, but I wonder if this is a symptom of how technology is taking us somewhere that we perhaps shouldn’t be going. I have seen people announce a bereavement on Facebook (don’t get me started on this!), only to see people respond with a crying face symbol.
That is a bullshit response. It’s a way of avoiding finding the appropriate words to respond to a sad event. It’s lazy, disrespectful and dismissive. What you need to be doing here is expressing your sorrow for the passing of a loved one, and offering your emotional support and help at such a difficult time. Not posting a cartoon picture of a face crying.
That, of course, is just my opinion. You might disagree. It’s not my place to impose my reality on you, but it just seems to me that emojis have a time and a place, and expressing sadness at the death of a loved one via the medium of pixels and a mouse click lacks basic respect.
Apologies. I got all serious and have outed myself as a grumpy old(ish) man.
The 2018 list of emoji symbols is utterly bewildering. There are at least six facial symbols that involve tears. Six! I just asked my twelve year old daughter to explain all six, and even she floundered. She admitted to me that she constantly receives emoji responses that she doesn’t remotely understand, and I find myself wondering how many people every day get an emoji communique and think, well, WTF does that mean?
It is not just the nuanced facial options that have me scratching my head. The list of picture symbols has become ridiculously comprehensive, including TWO options for pushpins, one with a flathead, the other with a round one. I think what has me so perplexed here is that the purveyors of emojis must have had a brainstorm at some point that led to the conclusion that what the World needs now is an emoji pushpin symbol choice of options.
I realise I am probably overthinking this.
Someone should make an emoji for that.
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