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After hearing that a couple of digital know-alls decided to spend a month not texting, but instead emoji-ing (is that even a thing?), Douglas Ross thought…why?
Thanks to, I don’t know, everything, western society is (arguably) more interesting than it was half a century ago. It just is; we boomed. Some of us are called Baby Boomers and those younger are the Boomees – recipients of the boom.
Over the past century there’s been a pass-the-parcel of money, ideas, philosophies, religions, ideals and morals that has been nothing short of exponential. So much so that folk will one day refer to “that first Enlightenment…with all those ideals,” and, “oh and then that bigger, second Enlightenment…Steve Jobs.”
And what do we do with all our new technology, time and freedom? Well people like Alex Goldmark and his girlfriend, Liza, choose to use their time in the pursuit of…I-don’t-quite-know-what.
In this New Tech City podcast, Alex and Liza describe their pursuit of a purely emoji-based relationship on their phones, leading me to two questions. What do they learn when, for an entire month, they only use emojis to communicate? And what do we learn from knowing that this seemingly pointless but quirky experiment even exists?
To question one: what do Alex and Liza learn?
Well, Liza is a visual thinker. Alex is not.
Emoticons are symbols expressed using punctuation : ) but emojis are the actual rendered version of an object or emotion.
It is helpful to use emojis quite literally (a toilet + paper + sad face = we’re out of freakin’ toilet paper).
Lastly, emojis make your communication a lot more…cheezy; think Puss in Boots’ adorable eyes from Shrek.
Instead of the usual text saying, “I love you” from Alex to his girlfriend, he instead sent cartoon characters expressing his affections. “It was so much better,” Liza reflects, “it felt fuller…somebody telling you that they love you is a great and beautiful and wonderful thing, but getting those stickers and emojis was a sort of…different experience.”
What a weird thing to say. Who on earth prefers an obese anime cat sitting on a toilet in place of your loved one’s verbal offering of love? Well this girl for one.
To the second question (regarding what any of this, or my article at that, has to do with anything and why you have continued reading this far at all):
Sure, texting an image of a cute, cuddly wombat may not compare in romantic street-cred as much as enclosing a red poppy flower, symbolising one’s kisses, into a letter home to the wife during World War I, but it’s what some of us have become, and maybe there is value to these new forms of communication.
Yes, perhaps we should just be quietly ashamed that our ability to communicate our love to each other is so dismally pale in comparison to the scribblings of even the most uneducated of men one hundred years ago. But it is what it is, don’t stress.
Perhaps the lesson learned is that yay, Hitler is dead, and we have the time and freedom to spend a month using emojis as our form of communication to see how it makes us feel.
But techno/psycho experimenters beware! Try using emojis to ask your partner to pick up a packet of Lemsip defence pills on their way home. Because you want the pills, not the sachets, and you want the packet that includes the nighttime pills as well. Make sure they’re the pills!
Needless to say, I think we’re all a bit more better informed than we were five minutes ago.