Thursday, October 02, 2014

Emoticons, Emoji, & Visual Communication

In my last post, I talked about the merging of mind & machine, which could result in the evolution of visually telepathic communication.

In fact, this is already occurring, through the increasing use of graphic elements in our day-to-day digital interactions. People use pictures in email, many posts on social media are basically images or video, and text messages are now reliant on emoticons or emoji to accompany their words.

Emoticons are traditional type characters used to create a simple graphic. The most basic & common are the smiley face :) and sad face:( which instantly let the reader know if there's positive or negative connotation to a message. Emoticons can add much-needed emphasis or emotional expression to a message. I saw this video outlining the history of emoticons on Neatorama:

Emoji are a relatively newer phenomenon that originated in Japan, meaning "picture character". They are pictographs that are used in smartphone texts or social media. Unlike emoticons, that rely on existing typefaces, emoji can represent a limitless array of objects & ideas.

Ever since I got an iPhone, I've been using emoji in many of my text messages. I use them mostly when communicating with people I'm close to, in order to convey how I'm feeling, humorous ideas, or just to have fun & make combos of emoji to try to create a mini narrative without using any words at all.

Gawker recently had fun with the idea of telling a story using emoji, by creating headlines for a fake newspaper, The Emoji Tatler:

The ability to convey ideas through pictographs is undoubtedly leading us to a much deeper system of symbolic language.

I think there will be eventually be forms of communication that we can't even conceive right now.

Expanded perceptual abilities will lead to directly-shared experiences & conceptual constructs between interconnected, electronically-augmented minds.

Originally, the funny picture below, that I saw awhile back, led me to writing this post. The graphic asks if we're about to come full circle, by mirroring the use of pictorial Egyptian Hieroglyphs through emoji & picture-based language:

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