Tuesday, 2 June 2015

Emoticons & Emojis

First things first, emoticon and emoji are two different things. If you didn't know that, grab something to eat and hit the internet. By the time you'd finish eating, you'll know that I am right. Not if you were to eat a traditionally prepared dosa though, you'd understand the difference in the middle of eating that dosa and will have to finish the rest of it aimlessly. That shit is made with the sole purpose of wasting your time.

Emoticons are older than you think. Take a guess, wild guess about the first time somebody proposed the use of emoticons.
People have relentlessly tried since time immemorial to convey stuff through punctuations and symbols. I can understand that for cave men and their early successors but when in 1881, somebody in some US magazine proposed the use of emoticons and tried to pass it by calling it "typographical art", my mind was blown away. (Believe me, I was there. As a fly on the wall)
This is what the proposed emoticon art looked like - 

That didn't catch on. No computers! Imagine how ridiculous one would've felt while drawing typographical arts on their letters in the 19th century.

Pigeons, mercury, and an elevator.
The sideways emoticon - the smiley, got its start in 1982 during a discussion on the online bulletin board in Carnegie Mellon University.
The discussion started with people wondering about the prospects and consequences of a free-falling elevator, such as whether a pigeon would still fly in it or whether mercury will rise or fall. Somebody tried to make a joke about it and suddenly there was a rumor that the elevators are contaminated by mercury.
That's when people started proposing all kinds of ways to avoid further confusion. One Scott Fahlman posted - 

"I propose the following character sequence for joke markers: 
Read it sideways. Actually, it's probably more economical to mark things that are NOT jokes, given the current trends. For this, use:
Thank You."

You can read the deep, funny and intellectual full conversation here

Nowadays, we use pictures. Emoji, it's a Japanese word (E + Moji (Face)). There are so many of them, I can't even comprehend 80% of the one's I know about and I have no idea how many emoji actually exist. 
Their wide use started in 2010 when they were adopted into Unicode (Hint: Google "Unicode") and in 5 years they've clawed their way into the way we write and text.
They say a picture says a thousand words, but if I don't know what the fuck those words are, an emoji is rendered useless. 
But, to my disbelief, there's even a version of Moby Dick written entirely in emoji

The ones that I know and commonly use are - 

I know some of you will judge me for my apparent lack of skills in using emoji but I semi-believe in the words of the famous philosopher Hank Moody about using abbreviations and emoji in texting, which are - 

"It just seems to me that it's a bunch of people pseudo-communicating with a bunch of other people at a proto-language that resembles more what cavemen used to speak than the king's English."

Emoticons and emoji are more than simples punctuations and images. One wrong emoji and you're fucked, a right one will bring a grin to your face or a smile on another.

Do I need to keep reminding you to post comments?

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