World Emoji


by Suri Singh, The Male Brain

Words. They are fast being replaced by pictures. The more we communicate the less we say. Thumbs up, a smiley face, strange animals, buildings and even pistols. Fussy traditionalists are making it a point to highlight the decline of literacy reflected in their heart-shaped eyes, whilst the progressive every day users continue to leave a trail of their activities – a bit like the ‘snail trail’. Welcome to world EMOJI.

Emoji communication has become the world’s first global language. Everyone who uses emojis just gets it irrespective of where in the world they are from. The number of ways we have to communicate today continues to grow therefore it’s not surprising we are gradually replacing words with animations instead. Who has the time for full sentences, correct grammar and punctuation not to mention spellings? So instead we add unnecessary images to our conversations that mean little or nothing to us.

Picture this; it’s probably happened to you at some point. You pour your heart out with words to your best friend about a situation affecting your life dramatically, anticipating a detailed heartfelt response. It says ‘typing message’ at the top of your screen and seconds later there it is – your response. A shock face + red heart + hugging smiley. Satisfied – Nope didn’t think so.

So is emojing a universal thing or is it predominantly a female thing – with the exception of a select ‘few’ masculine type options. Hand fist knuckles.

Women do tend to be the more overt of the sexes when it comes to expressing themselves which would explain why they are much more prone to using emojis but how would you feel if your man started sending you smileys, tongue out expressions with hearts, animals and kisses on a regular basis? Does the world of emojing need its own set of rules? For example, when are you classed as ‘too old’ to use them – How far do you go with emoji’s? Age 40 plus and your emoji game is over. Face in palm time.

The Oxford dictionary defines an emoji as ‘A small digital image or icon used to express an idea or emotion in electronic communication’. The whole tone of a conversation can be changed with a single icon. Imagine putting a ‘poop emoji’ in the middle of your conversation – albeit in error. Not cool.

So, would men benefit from using emojis more? Personally, I don’t feel like using them is emasculating, but I’m confident the opinions would differ man to man. Rapper Drake made his connection with emojis clear after getting inked with the ‘Praying Hands’ icon – blowing up the internet with his Instagram revelation. So if Drake can emoji anyone can right?

An important question to ask would be the impact of any ‘communication replacement’ such as this. If the younger generation are more familiar with pictures than words are we at risk of dumbing ourselves down in conversation? As with everything, moderation is vital. The electronic icons have been used in Japan for well over a decade and the Japanese are doing just fine.

Last month Apple introduced ‘ethnic’ emojis as part of the evolution of the iconic journey. (We did already have an Indian man wearing a Turban)This gives users the option to cycle through shades from white to brown and customise their emojis skin colour. But it’s questionable whether Apple has gone a step too far and included ‘race’ into our conversations unnecessarily? Not surprisingly the bigots of the world have taken to these all too well in using them to abuse others.

Teen Vogue contributor Marissa Miller quoted ‘a smiley face text is no replacement for an actual smile’. As with anything people will have their own opinion on the topic of emojis. Factors such as age, sex, conext and now race will all play a part in deciphering if one feels it is or isn’t acceptable to animate our way through our communications. As with anything the decision of how far you go is entirely up to you. The options are endless where technology is involved but the question is how willing we are to sacrifice what were once deemed as ‘appropriate’ communication forms and replace these with the more current, popular?

Thumbs Up or Thumbs Down, the Emoji world is here to stay.

Suri Singh, born and raised Londoner and media head who once lived the dream in Bollywood. One time Associate Editor of a National lifestyle magazine, giving you his perspective on all things relevant.

Share his world on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook @aboycalledsuri


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