Back To cave arT WiTh emoji mes­sag­ing

Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - Brunch - - INDULGE -

HOW’S YOUR emoji game? Can you mes­sage an en­tire sen­tence with clever lit­tle pic­tures in­stead of words? Can you com­bine pic­tures and words in such a way that the re­ceiver is both impressed and a lit­tle in­tim­i­dated? Have you never strug­gled with mes­sages full of emo­jis? Do you know all the dou­ble mean­ings be­hind the most-used emo­jis?

Or do you still call them emoti­cons? Do you get con­fused as to which emoji to use be­sides the smi­ley and the sad face? Do you think the smi­ley poo emoji is ac­tu­ally just happy cho­co­late ice-cream? Be­cause you thought that, have you been send­ing out bad smelling but smil­ing poop when all you wanted was to tell some­one you just en­joyed some creamy ice-cream?

Have you sent the egg­plant emoji to numer­ous peo­ple not know­ing that it’s usu­ally used to de­note one large part of the male anatomy? Do you have mul­ti­ple mes­sages in your in­box full of emo­jis and still have no idea what they mean and are too em­bar­rassed to ask any­one?

Wel­come to the brand-new world of emo­jis. You may have been us­ing them for a while, you may even think you’re fairly witty and clever with how you use them, you may even be an ex­pert in emoji com­bos – but you haven’t seen any­thing yet. With Ap­ple

Scott Fahlman is cred­ited with be­ing the first to start the whole idea of ex­press­ing emo­tions and words with pic­tures. He sent an email in 1982 sug­gest­ing that :) be called a joke marker (yes, it wasn’t called a smi­ley then) to de­note hu­mour or sar­casm in a sen­tence. He also used a :( but thank­fully didn’t call it a sad­ness marker. To­day, these are univer­sal ex­pres­sions and are not seen as cor­rupt­ing lan­guage. In the same way, emo­jis will evolve to be­come a univer­sal lan­guage. Don’t be afraid of emo­jis, em­brace them. They are not go­ing any­where and are the face of the fu­ture. After all, Ox­ford Dic­tio­nar­ies de­clared the ‘face with tears of joy’ emoji as word of the year 2015.

With Ap­ple au­tomat­ing emoji usage and oth­ers catch­ing on, the fu­ture of writ­ing looks bleak

The Case For Why Emo­jis Are Ru­in­ing Ev­ery­thing And Ev­ery­one

Emo­jis are truly beau­ti­ful. Yes, very cre­ative, very univer­sal. Just like cave­man draw­ings, Egyp­tian hi­ero­glyphs, Mayan icons and half-a-dozen other an­cient civil­i­sa­tions who used pic­tures to com­mu­ni­cate. It’s also the rea­son why the Egyp­tians were never able to doc­u­ment their history, write books or evolve into a lit­er­ary so­ci­ety. It wasn’t till the Greek al­pha­bet that books or stories or any real com­mu­ni­ca­tion took place.

Pic­tures as a lan­guage are pretty but very static. There are lim­its to what you can say or do. It is al­most im­pos­si­ble to take for­ward deep thoughts, ex­plain ideas, write mean­ing­ful po­etry or even tell a story. Try and put to­gether about a 100 emo­jis to tell a story and you’ll end up con­fused your­self. Yes, it’s been done and it was fun and it made the au­thor fa­mous. But it is also use­ful to know that of ev­ery 100 peo­ple who tried to read an all-emoji story, more than 95 gave up after the first nine emo­jis.

Plus there is no univer­sal ac­cep­tance of pic­tures as words. Dif­fer­ent cul­tures in­ter­pret emo­jis dif­fer­ently. The ‘pig snout’ emoji may be fun in Ja­pan, but is taken to be a racial slur in the Mid­dle East. And it’s not just about dif­fer­ent cul­tures. In var­i­ous stud­ies, it’s been found that more than 70 per cent of peo­ple in­ter­pret emo­jis very dif­fer­ently from what the sender had in­tended it to be. Over 50 per cent are usu­ally con­fused and don’t know what a mes­sage means when more than four emo­jis are used.

So where do I stand on the emoji de­bate? Very much on the #BanE­moji side. I don’t want to sound like a crusty con­ser­va­tive who wants to ques­tion progress, but is this re­ally progress? If this is evo­lu­tion then it’s mov­ing back­wards. If this is us mov­ing to the fu­ture then it’s a down­hill fu­ture. Most peo­ple are for­get­ting the art of writ­ing with short forms, too many acronyms and way too much slang be­ing used in writ­ten com­mu­ni­ca­tion. Add au­to­mated emo­jis to the equa­tion and it sounds like the end of the com­mu­ni­ca­tion world, not the start of fu­ture com­mu­ni­ca­tion. Ev­ery time I get a mes­sage with a lot of emo­jis, I feel very :(

Emo­jis are great, but should be left to the cave­men!

FACE OF THE FU­TURE Ox­ford Dic­tio­nar­ies had de­clared the ‘face with tears of joy’ emoji as the word of the year 2015

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