The Flipside: Rise of Emojis
Once upon a time, lovers would dream of handwritten letters embellished with the affection of their beloved, but these days I’m staring at my phone hoping the eggplant emoji I sent is enough to win a winking-face emoticon back from my girl.
No longer is it the norm to flirt with poetic devices and silver-tongued notes. Instead, we’re opting for a new language built of 8-bit pictures that are so dynamic and interchangeable they’ve fast become the salt and pepper of social interaction.
Proving there’s no need for vowels and consonants, humanity has taken semiotics and turned it into our preferred tongue. We’ve created over 2,500 characters, which as a species we use approximately six billion times a day.
We’re so used to seeing the emoticons on our pocket screens that their emergence to the big screen was of no surprise. With the release of ‘The Emoji Movie’ starring Patrick Stewart as ‘Poop’, it brings to question humanity’s path forward. We started as cavemen using signs and sounds to communicate, then we were crafters and poets designing manuscripts and telling stories. Now we’re a machine talking in symbols, and leaving smiley faces instead of Pyramid’s in our wake.
The ‘Thumbs Up Sign’ emoji is my favourite. In the current climate of instant gratification and immediacy, the Thumbs Up Sign emoji allows me to indicate with one tap of a finger that everything is good. Do I want to meet my friend for a walk in the morning? Thumbs Up Sign (transl. See you then).
My friend is running 10 minutes late for our coffee catch up. Thumbs Up Sign (transl. Roger that).
Granted, using a Thumbs Up Sign emoji rather than typing ‘See you then’ and ‘Roger that’ may be perceived as being lazy and impersonal, however it is just so damn efficient. In addition to that, the Thumbs Up Sign is a universal gesture relaying approval or encouragement. What can be wrong with that?
The majority of emojis are positive and fun, and that’s what I love about them. Yes, there’s an Angry Face emoji and a Middle Finger emoji, but these are far outweighed by love hearts, the cutest pig snout out, and (coming soon), a mermaid!
According to Emojipedia, the top emoji requests for 2017 include ‘Heart Shape’ Hand Gesture, Sloth and Cupcake. In other words, love, cuteness and get in my belly. If ‘The Emoji Movie’ unlocks the never-before-seen secret world inside your smartphone, consider me decoded.