Posted: Thursday, August 28, 2014 12:00 pm | Updated: 12:19 pm, Thu Aug 28, 2014.
By Debbie Baldwin
So we’ve all been doing a lot of texting. It’s an acceptable form of communication for adults—barring condolences and break-ups—and the primary form for teens. Last spring, Cranky’s prom invitation was extended via text. That being said, as with all forms of communication, there are rules. Comments are easily misinterpreted, and a lack of response—however unwitting—is an insult. Too many question marks in a row is aggressive; too many exclamation points, overly enthused. Lately, however, I have noticed an increase in the use of something that seems to take the sting out of an unfavorable text—something that conveys so much in the small amount of space provided.
Emoji is a term of Japanese origin. ‘Emo’ is short for emotion, and ‘ji’ is the Japanese word for character. An emoji is a character that expresses an emotion or feeling: a smiley face, a heart, two fingers crossed. It can express an invitation. A picture is worth a thousand words. Why type it out when one emoji of a golf green with a pin in the hole says it all? Plus, there’s a lot of wiggle room there if you get rejected. For example, if you’re interested in dating a coworker and you text her a picture of a frosty mug of beer:
Oh I can’t. Got to meet my mom.
I just meant I could use a beer.
Oh sorry.
No prob. Heading out. C U Mon.
Crisis averted.
There are emojis of flowers, flags, food and faces. There are emojis of aliens, ambulances and animals. Some of them make me curious. When would you use an emoji of a hospital? Just got in car crash. Or a barber pole? Guess what you should do today? Or a handicap parking symbol? I parked in a great spot (wink wink).
In any event, an emoji is a very useful tool. It makes normal texts lighthearted, and humorous texts downright funny. They are modern-day hieroglyphics. Just like early men, we need to convey a complicated message as simply as possible. Instead of letting the tribe across the river know we are fleeing an approaching predator, we are letting our friends know where to meet up before the concert—not life or death, but a useful tool nonetheless.