When I came up with the idea for this article, I had no idea that July 17th was World Emoji Day. Odd coincidence or had the marketing messages made their way into my subconscious? It’s hard to say but what is certain is that like it or not, emojis are now a part of our every-day written language.
These descriptive icons aren’t a new phenomenon either.
Ancient Egyptians created their own graphics, hieroglyphics, which communicated many concepts using figures from their mythology. In fact, our very own alphabet is derived from forms seen in nature. “A” for example, looks like a mountain and is used to signify the best. It doesn’t take much imagination to see a slithering sssssnake in “S” and an opening in “O”.
The symbol for the sound of the universe, “Om” is a depiction of Ganesh, the elephant God, remover of obstacles on one’s path. In the photo, the syllables are written out in Tibetan scripts, which is a little different to Sanskrit. They are descriptive and full of energy as calligraphy is.
It may be that the Latin alphabet has become flat and that we lost touch with the humanity of the letters through typing them out on keyboards and smartphones that we now feel the need to pepper emotion into our written language through an ever-expanding universe of emojis.
A Palette of Emotions
If you do any messaging, and who doesn’t these days – you may have noticed which emojis your friends use most frequently. There are academics and creative agencies who’ve conducted studies on emoji usage. It’s no surprise that both in Turkey and Australia the smiley and heart emojis are the most commonly used.
Don’t let these love and positivity filled emojis fool you though. I know I’ve used smileys and hearts without meaning them. I’ve also noticed people using smileys when delivering critique or any revelations that may be a little hard to take. It goes down like this “Hey, you’ve put on some weight *SMILEY*” How passive-aggressive is that? How is that delivered with any good intention? How am I supposed to respond to that? “Hey, thanks for noticing, you’ve lost some hair *SMILEY* *HEART*”
And honestly what else is left to say when your friends share photos of adorable puppies, kittens and children? Nothing but the heart-eyes smiley. Again, I don’t always do this with emotion, it’s more a knee-jerk reaction. It is only sincere when it’s friends’ babies, dogs or kittens I’ve actually met and played with. Model cats, dogs, babies, yeah they may be cute – but I don’t feel anything for them. I don’t know them and haven’t formed any emotional attachment to them.
As you can see, I’m not all that sincere when using emojis and it’s a challenge for me to get intentional and honest with my communications. It’s so hard to be “natural” because of social conditioning and expectation of “likes” and “hearts”.
I do the thumbs up and the “OK” gestures when I want to finish conversations and these come across as abrupt.
I’ve also seen people use the upside-down smiley, which I absolutely hate, perhaps because I live down-under and think no one but those of us in Oz have any business using the upside-down smiley, but that’s completely my neurosis.
And there are some emojis, like the ones that express negative feelings – anxiety, depression, nausea, melancholy, despair, inconsolable crying that I’ve never used despite having been in these states.
It’s like I’m too afraid to express these feelings in emoji form. After a certain age, crying became socially unacceptable in my generation so these emojis probably feel unloved by Baby Boomers, Gen X and some of Gen Y.
I think Millennials are slightly better at being in touch with and expressing a myriad of emotions so perhaps the darker, less happy spectrum of the emoji palette feels their love and fingertips.
A little pressure from the Muslims and “people of colour” means that now we can get emojis in all skin colours and traditional costumes.
You can find flags from around the world too. I can see the use for flags. You can wave your flag for your team in football, soccer or other sports matches but am baffled when one would use an emoji with the headscarf. Perhaps when one is headed to the mosque?
Even though my skin colour isn’t Simpsons-yellow, I’m comfortable with the stock standard universal yellow skin tome to express myself. I wonder why this isn’t the case for everyone? Of course the smiley has to be only in yellow, so why not the hand gesturers? *INDEX FINGER ON CHIN EMOJI *
Then there’s the blue evil eye emoji that Turks love.
Here’s the secret with that one, if you feel the need to use it, you’ve already jinxed it! So you share a picture of your tight body and then other people respond with the evil eye bead? They are praising you and praise only leads to the ruin of whatever was good. You bet that ass of yours you’ll have a few too many chocolate cakes and cellulite will pile up on that toosh in no time.
Why you ask?
Your intention in sharing anything that others might praise and with that get jealous of, is to make them jealous in the first place.
True or false?
In my case that’s always true.
Why do I try to make others jealous? That’s easy. It’s because I feel inferior to them in some way. So anything shared with that type of energy will bring others’ jealousy in the form of praise.
Whenever you’re praised, your ego gets a feed, becomes bloated and it’s inevitable that things will be on the decline. It’s not “nazar”, it’s your own ego destroying a good thing.
Look at the Ottoman Empire, and all great empires since the dawn of time, it wasn’t humility and simple living that brought about their destruction.
Over to you…
What emojis are you fond of using and do you really mean them?