The whole world :) with you

by Toby Manhire / 23 May, 2013
Emoticons and emoji – enriching the written word or an abomination?


Personally, I feel sorry for the punctuation. It wasn’t born to grin :) or frown :( or wink ;) and yet these irksome little contortions, known as emoticons, have become inescapable.

The emoticon, thought to have originated in the late 70s, in an effort to denote tongue-in-cheek remark, is today a staple in the language of text messaging and online conversation.

Then there are their more animated cousins, emoji – the tiny cartoonish symbols, most versions of the yellow smiley-face, that spring up in certain programmes when you tap in the emoticon code.

“This set of glyphs [has] been littering text messages in Japan for well over a decade are now sweeping the western world,” writes Rhodri Marsden in the Independent. “Just as some of us embraced emoticons such as :-( and :-0 while others raged at our inability to express ourselves properly using words and punctuation, so we're embracing emoji, too, from the angry face to the tomato to the hospital to the flexing bicep to the ghost, and indeed the balloon.”

He writes:

Last month, as if to legitimise emoji as a form of expression, the US Library of Congress accepted a 'translation' into emoji of Herman Melville's Moby Dick. (Entitled, as you might expect, Emoji Dick.) Said translation is frivolous, pointless and silly - and so, to a certain extent, is emoji. But does it really have a reductive effect on the way we communicate? Or does it add a richness that conventional language simply can't convey?


 

Facebook certainly reckons it adds something, and has enlisted a psychologist and a Pixar animator to design a suite of its own emoji.

Popular Science reports:

In 1872, Charles Darwin published The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals, a book that catalogued emotional expressions in humans and their link to the animal world. In the book, Darwin described more than 50 universal emotions. Now Facebook, with the help of a psychologist who studies emotions and a Pixar illustrator, has turned some of the emotions Darwin described in the 19th century into a set of emoticons. The hope: to create emoticons that better capture the vast range of human emotion ...


They started looking at how compassion research could help Facebook address the kind of interpersonal conflicts the company saw emerge in issue reporting. When people inserted a little more emotion into their messages asking friends to take down photos, Facebook found, the friend was more likely to respond or comply rather than just ignore the message.


 

Here’s a glossary of the things.

 

The final word to a couple of recent thoughts on emoticons from Twitter – a place awash with the things:

 

From @FillWerrell (a parody Will Ferrell account):

If people winked in real life as much as they do in text messages this world would be a pretty creepy place.


And from poet @PamAyres:

The terrible thing about Twitter,
I feel that it has to be said
Is: You make punctuation mark faces,
When you should have been early to bed.

MostReadArticlesCollectionWidget - Most Read - Used in articles
AdvertModule - Advert - M-Rec / Halfpage

Latest

Trade Me bans sale of pugs, British and French bulldogs
86110 2018-01-20 10:49:32Z Business

Trade Me bans sale of pugs, British and French bul…

by Sally Blundell

As a result of growing concern over the welfare of pugs, British and French bulldogs, Trade Me has announced they're banning the sale of these breeds.

Read more
Puppy farming: New Zealand's secret dog-breeding shame
86056 2018-01-20 00:00:00Z Currently

Puppy farming: New Zealand's secret dog-breeding s…

by Sally Blundell

NZ has an unregulated puppy-breeding industry where unscrupulous operators can flourish, so why aren’t we following the lead of overseas governments?

Read more
The Crown has lost its way in season two
85715 2018-01-20 00:00:00Z Television

The Crown has lost its way in season two

by Greg Dixon

To read the gushing media reports, you’d have thought The Crown was a winning combination of the Second Coming, unicorns and sliced bread.

Read more
How your name influences who you become
85737 2018-01-20 00:00:00Z Psychology

How your name influences who you become

by Marc Wilson

Researchers say that 'Daisy' is more likely to dress and act in a feminine manner because the name has a stereotype of femininity.

Read more
Jacinda Ardern pregnant: Politicians past and present lend their support
86105 2018-01-19 15:45:44Z Politics

Jacinda Ardern pregnant: Politicians past and pres…

by RNZ

Politicians from at home and abroad are reaching out to offer congratulations to the Prime Minister mum-to-be.

Read more
Jacinda Ardern is going to be a Prime Minister AND a mum
86091 2018-01-19 12:36:44Z Politics

Jacinda Ardern is going to be a Prime Minister AND…

by Katie Parker

New Zealand’s newly minted PM and bizarrely cool and normal lady Jacinda Ardern has announced that she and partner Clarke Gayford are expecting a baby

Read more
Jacinda Ardern announces pregnancy
86074 2018-01-19 11:11:36Z Politics

Jacinda Ardern announces pregnancy

by RNZ

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has announced that she is pregnant, with the baby due in June.

Read more
What the media silly season taught us
85933 2018-01-19 00:00:00Z Politics

What the media silly season taught us

by Graham Adams

To the eternal gratitude of media chiefs, each holiday period seems to throw up at least one minor scandal that runs in the absence of anything newsy.

Read more