I use emoji/emoticons a lot – both physical smilies (when available) and the kind that are made up of various standard keyboard character combinations. :)
“Emoticon refers specifically to the representation of a facial expression formed using keyboard characters. Emoji is the Japanese style of smiley which literally translates into picture + letter. The pictographs most of us use today are based off of these.”
The iPhone has a massive selection of emoji. I have been known to send text messages or Tweets entirely of emoji and have played guess the band name/film title using only emoji. But their significance in modern day communication is not really something I’ve given too much thought until reading this article. They really have become quite essential.
Recently used emoji on my iPhone:
“There is something of an inevitability to our increasing reliance on emoticons. Language is always evolving. We continually look for better ways to communicate, express, and optimize thoughts and feelings. That’s what emoticons allow us to do.”
Damn, I should have thought about emoticons for my university dissertation – there’s a big mention of pictograms but emoticons didn’t even cross my mind. I’m an idiot! Although, I am planning to re-version my dissertation soon…
“Communicating face-to-face involves the use of non-verbal tools like: intonation, gestures, facial expressions, and body language. We use each of these to help us more accurately convey the message we want the other person to receive. When we communicate online or via mobile, we lack all of these tools.”
BUT we have these :) :P ;) :D to help us.
And now we even have Pusheen kitty emoticons too.
“Emerging research indicates when we see certain emoticons, our mood changes. When that happens, we alter our facial expressions to match the emotion of the emoticon. Often without knowing, we end up mimicking the emoticon.”
Now you mention it…
“The evolution of our language online has helped me to communicate a fuller, more dynamic spectrum, of who I am and what I care about. … When words aren’t enough, emoticons are there to help me fill in the gap.”
Be sure to read the full article by Adrea Ayres-Deets on The Next Web blog – as if I haven’t linked to it enough in this post already.