I’ve never used an emoji or emoticon in my life.
Why? One: I don’t want to. Two: When other people use them I’m sometimes unsure what they mean. Three: Words are confusing enough.
I’m not against them. I understand the popularity and the convenience of them. I understand the need for emotional clarity in technological communication. And they’re cute and fun.
This week (via Kateoplis) I discovered someone created emoji for introverts: Introji. Here’s a couple I liked:
“Need More Information”
I don’t actually understand this one. Is it trying to say “light on info”? Confusing, right? But I like that something like it exists. I’ve written many times to many people “Elaborate, please”.
Or “shh, listening to podcast”. Or “shh, I have my headphones on and I’m not listening to anything. Just please don’t talk to me right now”.
Visit the Introji Facebook page for more.
The introji got me thinking about some emoji I could use in my life.
For example, I need an emoji that sums up this sentiment:
I read your text/email/tweet/comment. I have many thoughts and feelings about it that I cannot articulate thoroughly or quickly and I don’t want you to think I’m ignoring you. Please be patient with me. You can anticipate a thoughtful response soon.
And another for this sentiment:
I read your text/email/tweet/comment. I feel completely indifferent about it but I realize you spent time and energy crafting it and I want to acknowledge that effort and I don’t want you to think I’m ignoring you.
I need something other than the “thumbs up”. Something to indicate I’m thinking and feeling (or not). BUT I care! BUT not too much. What I need most in a emoji (if I ever use one), as Charlotte Fassler argued in a round table discussion about emoji at Man Repeller, is “a way of commenting on something you don’t actually want to comment on.”
If you want more (that’s an introji for “Complex thinking”) on emoji, you might want to read Luke Stark and Kate Crawford’s piece on the topic, “The Conservatism of Emoji” in The New Inquiry. They made some broader and deeper points about the popularity of emoji that I found interesting. To Stark and Crawford emoji:
- Are creating a type of “communicative monoculture”
- Hold out the promise of “emotional standardization in the service of data analysis which would make categorizing, tracking, and counting emotions easier.” (*cough* Facebook)
- Are good for describing simple activities, but aren’t great at complexity. Will the use of and the simplicity of emoji make us simpler or less complex? Or put another way, are emoji turning us into machines?
- Are “agents in turning emotions into economic value” (*cough again* Facebook)
Not just cute and fun.
I need an emoji for “I don’t know how to end this post. I hope it provided some value or provoked some thought. Thank you for reading.” I don’t think there’s an emoji for that. Words will have to do.