Death To Words. Long Live The Emoji.

Much as the caveman must have pondered life before fire or the Victorians wondered how folk managed before the invention of electricity, one question has vexed me above all others as I continue my blogging journey. We have sent people to the Moon, plumbed the deepest depths of the oceans and scaled the highest peaks on land but above all those astounding achievements one stands head and shoulders above the rest.

The creation of the emoji….

Now I say head and shoulders but of course your common garden emoji does not possess shoulders. Nor do they require them for their disembodied little solar faces alone are more than capable of expressing every emotion ever experienced. Euphoric joy, heart wrenching sadness and the one where you just feel a bit meh. The emoji has it all. And don’t get me started on it’s evil hybrid cousin, the bitmoji. For that’s an entire blog series in itself.

Imagine how much easier life would have been if our little yellow friends had always been around. Life would have been so much simpler and more colourful. We wouldn’t have had to plough through dreary documents like the Magna Carta, Declaration of Independence or Treaty of Versailles. It could all have been amicably resolved via a group WhatsApp chat and a few ๐Ÿ˜Š, ๐Ÿง and ๐Ÿคช.

Emojis are the writing equivalent of crack cocaine. Much as you recognise the vapid, existential nihilism of them you find your thumb gravitating towards the emoji button. The blissful quick hit of that smiley face replaced seconds later by the overwhelming guilt and shame all us aspiring authors feel when we resort to such literary laziness. Yet before we know it we are chasing the emoji dragon again. I’m sure if there isn’t an emoji dragon then some bright spark will invent one soon.

I must admit I have a love/hate relationship with the emoji as I suspect most of us do. Along with the ‘lol’ and ‘smh’ culture that has assailed us in recent times, the emoji is effectively slaughtering the written word. Punctuation and grammar have been sacrificed at the altar of convenience. The full stop is no more and as for the semi colon? It passed away some time ago but nobody could be bothered to pen its obituary.

In today’s ‘fast food’ society we don’t have time to craft words into sentences and paragraphs. We hammer out messages on our keyboards at the speed of light. No time to talk, write or, for that matter, think. Eloquence has been replaced by expediency. Thoughts and feelings can be hidden behind a little smiley or sad face. It is laughing inanely all the way to our graves. We don’t want relationships. We crave followers, likes and retweets. And sooner rather than later.

It’s a stampede, a bloodbath and if you don’t keep up then don’t expect any sympathy from the rest of us. Birthday and Christmas cards are a dying breed. When was the last time you wrote a letter? With paper and a pen? You know a pen?? Even e-mails are sooooooo last year. Why do we even bother with books? Big, ugly cumbersome monstrosities that they are. All that time it takes to read them when we could be spending our oh so valuable time taking selfies or snap chatting our new BFF in Japan who we’ve never actually met. Or for that matter spoken to.

Words used to be doorways to magical worlds and kingdoms. Now they are barriers. There are easier, quicker ways to communicate. Communicate the way we want to. Superficially without style or substance. I don’t want you to know the real me for I’m terrified you will be disappointed at what you discover. I want you to meet the new, improved me. Death to creative, intelligent thought. For a new age has dawned. The Age of the Emoji โ˜น๏ธ

How do you communicate? Text, E-Mail, Group Chat?

How much do emojis and abbreviation rule your life?

When was the last time you wrote a letter?

76 thoughts on “Death To Words. Long Live The Emoji.

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  1. Oh no they better not get rid of books. I love to hold one and the smell of a book. Lol weird, yes! But Iโ€™m sure you know what I mean. I use emojis a lot in text conversations. Heck we use them when we respond to blog comments.
    But I still enjoy a deep conversation. I still accept a nice card, come to think of it I havenโ€™t gotten a letter, an actual thought out letter. ๐Ÿค” interesting! Unless itโ€™s a bill, lol! Great post!

    Liked by 4 people

  2. Your timing on this couldn’t be better. Years ago, when I first became I father, I was introduced to a book called “Letters from Dad”. The book encourages taking the time to write letters to your children that they’ll someday cherish. You can give them the letters now, or you can save them for the children to someday discover. I’d been thinking about how overdue I am to write some. I think I will write today!

    Liked by 5 people

  3. Thus, Stephen penned The Obituary of The Written Word.

    In consolation, a friend once told me in text that she’d “laughed audibly.” When I teasingly asked about her phrasing, she said she’d never text “LOL.” I feel the same way.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I will come to the defense of the humble emoji. So much of today’s writing is in a texting/emailing culture that tries to take the place of the old fashioned conversation. Facial expressions and voice inflections that provide so much context are lost. It is into that void that the little emoji has rushed.

    Without the emoji you would have no idea whether my call for a worldwide emoji celebration day is in earnest or in jest or with a healthy dose of sarcasm. So is it ๐Ÿ˜ or is it ๐Ÿ˜ก (or maybe ๐Ÿคฏ)? Let’s just go with ๐Ÿ˜‡.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Hmm, this was some interesting food for thought. I love the way emojis allow us to express emotion. I think it makes our written conversations more human. But I agree that it has also made it easier for conversations to be superficial and, let’s be honest, lazy. I’m still team emoji, though. My life would not be the same without ๐Ÿ˜ญ, ๐Ÿ‘, and ๐Ÿ’ฉ.

    The last time I received a hand-written letter was a few years ago, when, a former friend and I decided to be snail mail pen pals while we went to different universities. Opening a letter is way better high than an emoji!

    Liked by 2 people

  6. I would love it if I had someone to write letters to. I used to do it when I was younger with some friends that had moved away, and while it was agony to wait for their response, I would definitely enjoy doing it again.

    Also, I love the smell and feel of a real book too much, so they better not get rid of them.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. My grandmother and I used to write letters to each other before she became too feeble to continue.
      In the beginning of our married life, my husband and I would write each other little love letters. He would write one to me before leaving for work and place it on his pillow for me to find when I arose….unfortunately with kids, both of us working and other life’s chaos the letters have quickly faded. I miss them.

      Liked by 2 people

        1. I feel we should bring back the art of writing. In my line of work I meet young adults that are a year or two out of high school and maybe half even know how to write legibly.
          I would much rather sit and write with pen and paper than send an electronic message.

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  7. I just wrote a letter with an ink pen last night. The highlight of every day except Sunday is when the mail comes. Back when I was in highschool a marching band from South Africa stayed 2 weeks at our school and the following summer we spent three weeks there. It took three weeks to get a letter back then and nothing was more exciting. I find myself still sending hand written notes to people. There is something magical about them. Fun fact a guy I was friends with in high school told me I should have been born in the Victorian age as I was too old fashioned! Nice compliment and itโ€™s a badge of honor.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. I agree that emojis are lazy, but I do find them helpful when what I am typing could be taken multiple ways. I still do handwritten thank you’s and the occasional letter. I used to write letters all the time to my Nana, but then I got an email address ๐Ÿ˜€
    I miss the anticipation, but it is easier to email/text/etc. It’d be fun to take up again with someone, though!

    Like

      1. Aw, I’m sorry โ˜บ๐Ÿ˜Š๐Ÿ˜€๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜ƒ๐Ÿ˜„๐Ÿ˜…๐Ÿ˜†๐Ÿ˜‡๐Ÿ˜ˆ๐Ÿ˜‰๐Ÿ˜ฏ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜‘๐Ÿ˜•๐Ÿ˜ ๐Ÿ˜ฌ๐Ÿ˜ก๐Ÿ˜ข๐Ÿ˜ด๐Ÿ˜ฎ๐Ÿ˜ฃ๐Ÿ˜ค๐Ÿ˜ฅ๐Ÿ˜ฆ๐Ÿ˜ง๐Ÿ˜จ๐Ÿ˜ฉ๐Ÿ˜ฐ๐Ÿ˜Ÿ๐Ÿ˜ฑ๐Ÿ˜ฒ๐Ÿ˜ณ๐Ÿ˜ต๐Ÿ˜ถ๐Ÿ˜ท๐Ÿ˜ž๐Ÿ˜’๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜›๐Ÿ˜œ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜‹๐Ÿ˜—๐Ÿ˜™๐Ÿ˜˜๐Ÿ˜š๐Ÿ˜Ž๐Ÿ˜ญ๐Ÿ˜Œ๐Ÿ˜–๐Ÿ˜”๐Ÿ˜ช๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜“๐Ÿ˜ซ

        Liked by 1 person

  9. I text and use messenger some – letters and the odd postcard go out about one a week. It bewilders my letter carrier, so that alone is worth it.

    Emojis – not so much. Gifs? No we’re talkung serious fun. Who doesn’t love an attack squirrel?

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  10. I am a hand lettering lover. I taught myself how to brush letter. It’s like watercolor writing but they sell special pens. And I got good enough to be creative. Anyway, so I tend to write more letters because I love the art form. It’s a bit like calligraphy or Japanese ink writing but with watercolor pens. And it’s been fun sending off cards or thank yous. It’s always unexpected too.

    My father in law, who is a writer himself, was disappointed when not one of his 6 children bothered to give him a card on father’s day. I realized how upset he was and sent him a belated card. My husband obviously isn’t keen on the card thing so I did it for him. My father in law said it brought a tear to his eye.

    Speaking of emojis, did you hear about the woman who wanted an emoji of a winky face on her obituary??? I laughed at that one.

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      1. Good idea. I actually saw a post from a year ago (a photo) that I might rewrite just to compare. I haven’t been practicing as much but I want to. Anyway good idea!

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  11. The very first use of the yellow smiley face that I can remember had to be at least 30 years ago, long before it made its screen debut. It was a round adhesive sticker that the “greeter” at Wal-Mart stores would give to children, or affix to merchandise that was being carried into the store to be returned at the customer service desk.

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  12. I am irritated that I use them. In fact Iโ€™d go so far as to say that I dislike the fact that I use them. Itโ€™s partly laziness but also because as someone who is always rather worried that I might offend (people pleaser to the end), by putting on a winky or smiley face it hopefully ensures that the reader/recipient does not inadvertently take my words the wrong way.

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  13. I wrote a letter last week, the dinosaur that I am. I send one to my grand nephew each month because my sister, his granny says he gets excited to get them. It started on his birthday 2 years ago with a card. I hate to say it but I prefer phone calls I mean really, I timed it. To have a 10 minute conversation takes an hour texting it. How does that save time? It’s my patience acting up again ๐Ÿ™‚ That smile, and a wink ๐Ÿ˜‰ which I still type out ; and ) (the dinosaur that I am) But some of these faces I have no idea what they mean. If I get anything other than a smile or wink, I type back something like, are you sick? constipated? have a headache? stuff like that hehehe. But anyone who knows me knows if it’s more than 3 text involved, you have to call me or the conversation is over.

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  14. I so agree with this. I still send birthday cards and thank you cards and little notes to friends. I am amazed when I see someone after I have sent a card…they act as if I had given them some great gift. Sad that we no longer take the time to actually remember someone’s birthday, take time to find just the right card and then mail it to them. Instead we just notice on FB that it’s their birthday and send “Happy birthday.” The only mail we get any more is “junk” mail. I can’t remember the last time I received a letter or a card, but I keep sending them out anyway hoping to brighten someone’s day.

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  15. I loved this post! Sorry for the late comment in response, my email has been filled with amazing posts waiting to be read. If you have not already, check out the movie Fahrenheit 451. It’s a recent movie that shows a future world where all writing is banned because people quit reading/writing and began solely using technology to communicate. Government stepped in and “uploaded” all books, but the shortened and edited versions which even contained EMOJIS. It definitely was an eye opener to me. However, I use all forms of communicating. Talking, email, text message, tangible books, eReaders, telephone calls, FaceTime. I use them all! I like to have a variety of ways to communicate or learn so I often change it up depending on my mood.

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  16. Texting does put the pressure off of some face-to-face interactions, but it can be hard since the emphasis of emotion has to come through written context. I have a habit of writing “lol” after written sentences if I actually do find it be something in a humorous context, while other times I include the “lol” because of that reason in addition to feeling terribly awkward about what I just wrote. I mostly use the smiley emoji or laughing (with tears) emoji. The last time I wrote a letter was some months ago to a penpal. My handwriting has gotten sloppier in the past years. Or maybe I’m too conscious of how I want it to look like since I don’t write by hand as often anymore. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

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