Monday, June 15, 2015

I Second that Emoji

Posted By on Mon, Jun 15, 2015 at 10:31 AM

I arrived into the texting world relatively late in the cyber game. It was 2011 and I needed to replace my phone. My new phone had both a sexy name (Rumor) and a keyboard that slid out from behind the screen, and even though I was way too old to think it, I thought I was pretty cool. A keyboard that could slide? Come on!

I had my few friends and family members who I would text. While I spelled out every word and resisted abbreviations of any sort, lol, pls and ty became commonplace in everyone's texts. And then came the Emojis or, as I liked to say then, "goober pictures." Could I resist the smiley face as much as the ttyl? Should I?

click to enlarge Emoji are popular enough to earn a spot in the cultural conversation and on your couch. - COURTESY OF WICKER PARADISE
  • Courtesy of Wicker Paradise
  • Emoji are popular enough to earn a spot in the cultural conversation and on your couch.

When I was in my late twenties, I took some education classes at IUPUI. One of my favorites was a class about the evaluation of a child's reading level and writing ability. Texting was the baby not yet thought of in the consumer world; however, email was in full swing. As a class we would discuss if the numerous emails exchanged by children were helping or hindering the development of their writing style. Without referencing any studies, I sided on helping, believing that something -- even if brief and abbreviated -- was better than nothing.

Some of my thinking came from my own experience, where I acquired a mandated life skill by seemingly taking a short cut. As a first grader at Brook Park Elementary School on the northeast side, my teacher, Mrs. Shepherd, was working hard to prepare her short, nearing toothless-age students to become readers.

When my mother, exhausted by raising four girls in completely different stages of life (six, 11, 17 and 20 years old), met with dear, wise and organized Mrs. Shepherd at one of the parent-teacher conferences, she admitted her concern over my love of Archie and Richie Rich comic books. Shouldn't I be reading more books instead? Mrs. Shepherd simply said, "She's reading, and that's all that matters."

It was easy for my mother to dismiss the comic book. They appeared flimsy, had no substantial binding and lacked a certain heft. And just as I felt about abbreviated texting language, I thought the same of Emojis. After all, they are cartoonish, colorful and almost too playful to convey a sentiment lurking in my heart and spirit. When I am worrying about my oldest son entering those teenage years with those teenage issues, is a fretting Emoji with tears pouring out of its eyes the best way to express my angst?

click to enlarge The Guardian went so far as to translate the president's 2015 State of the Union address into Emoji. - COURTESY OF THE GUARDIAN
  • Courtesy of The Guardian
  • The Guardian went so far as to translate the president's 2015 State of the Union address into Emoji.

Like it or not, Emojis are another language. It is another way in which we -- person-to-person -- convey messages and emotions about the state of ourselves and our world. It has become another art form in the vein of communication. Pictograms, pictures of actual things, have been at the root of written language since there was such a thing as written language.

We have been decoding pictures since the beginning of well ... us. We were doing it in Mesopotamia, Egypt and China long ago, and here we are again. We are good at decoding pictures, but when it comes to texting that, is something altogether different.

Tyler Schnoebelen, a linguistics Ph.D from Stanford says that while we've learned to talk and write, we're only just now learning to write at the speed of talking (i.e. text). This ends up being a strange territory where we send messages over vast expanses, void of any physical clues.

In the 1950s, the psychologist Albert Mehrabian determined in a frequently cited study that only 7 percent of communication is what we say (verbal), while 38 percent is how we say it (vocal) and 55 percent is what we do and how we look while we're saying it (nonverbal). If this study stands true, we're doing just fine if we are standing face-to-face communicating, but if we're texting, we've just negated 93 percent of our communicative tools.

So thank you, Emoji. Thank you, Party Starters. Thank you, Praying Hands. And, yes, I even thank you, Pistol. Even though it took a while to be comfortable being in a place where my son's text of "LY" can make my day, I feel just fine bouncing back a smiley face with heart-shaped eyes. Because 2DAY, 2MORO and 2NITE it's all FAB to exchange the love in a place where our texting thumbs cannot even begin to keep up with our beating hearts.

  • Pin It
  • Favorite
  • Email

Tags: , , , , ,

Speaking of...

  • I Got Schooled

    Carrie learns about the Trade School of Indianapolis, where cultural and creative classes are exchanged for everything from chocolate bars to good reads and flower seeds.
    • Nov 23, 2015
  • We are so Lucky

    Do artistic and musical skills remain intact in persons with Alzheimer's disease and dementia? Carrie ponders findings indicating they do.
    • Aug 24, 2015
  • Hurts So Good

    Indy's cultural attractions help soothe the soul and fuel an active mind and restless body, while injuries mend.
    • Aug 10, 2015
  • More »

Comments

Showing 1-1 of 1

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-1 of 1

Add a comment

Readers also liked…

  • Well-Endowed Artists

    Jennifer draws Seinfeld-esque parallels to artists' financial challenges with education, but offers easy ways to help.
    • Mar 2, 2016
  • Positive Impressions

    Ben chats with IMA’s artist-in-residence about introducing the process of woodblock printmaking to the masses.
    • Jan 10, 2016

About The Author

Carrie Kirk

Carrie Kirk

Bio:
Growing up, I never could get a word in edgewise. I had three older sisters. Go figure. Thankfully, my vocalization morphed into the written word. Currently in my family of three (me and my two sons), I am able to be the master of my universe and go where no mom has gone before. However, I sense too often that... more

More by Carrie Kirk

  • I Got Schooled

    Carrie learns about the Trade School of Indianapolis, where cultural and creative classes are exchanged for everything from chocolate bars to good reads and flower seeds.
    • Nov 23, 2015
  • Speaker of the House

    David Sedaris spoke to a packed house at Clowes Memorial Hall, and Carrie listened to him -- the exception to her "I read" rule.
    • Nov 3, 2015
  • Stubborn Gladness

    Carrie learns about Day of the Dead or Día de los Muertos and how it celebrates the memory of lost loved ones.
    • Oct 19, 2015
  • More »

Latest in Sky Blue Blog

  • The Nice Things

    Ben has enjoyed his opportunity to give notice to some of Indy’s 'nice things' with Sky Blue Window readers. He hopes you’ll find and share them too.
    • Mar 9, 2016
  • A Gray Sky-onara

    Dan looks back at some of his most memorable blogs at Sky Blue Window.
    • Mar 8, 2016
  • Well-Endowed Artists

    Jennifer draws Seinfeld-esque parallels to artists' financial challenges with education, but offers easy ways to help.
    • Mar 2, 2016
  • More »
© 2017 CICF
Twitter
Facebook
Privacy Policy
Contact Us:
P: 317.634.2423   F: 317.684.0943
info@skybluewindow.org
Central Indiana Community Foundation
615 N. Alabama St. #119
Indianapolis, Indiana 46204-1431
Sky Blue Window is presented by:

Website powered by Foundation