A Picture Is Worth How Many Words?

7 May

Do you 😍 to use emoji when you ✍️❔

If 👍, then  👀 this post.  You will  💗 it ‼️

We are witnessing the birth of a new language, Clive Thompson writes in Wired.

In an age of rapid chatter, emoji prevent miscommunication by adding an emotional tenor to cold copy. We also use emoji to convey a sort of ambient presence, when words aren’t appropriate.

In defense of communicating in images, Thom Scott-Phillips writes in Aeon:

. . . all means of expression have their weaknesses as well as their strengths, and words are no exception.

This summer, Pepsi will launch a campaign of cans and bottles covered in emoji that have been designed by the company.

Pepsi's emojis

Coming soon to soda can near you






E! News headlined a story about the coming barrage, perhaps with a bit of  the plastic straw in the cheek:  “Proves We No Longer Need Words to Function.”

The soda brand notes it aims to create emoticons that are missing from what we’ve already got going on, and that different parts of the world will receive location-specific emojis. We’re interested to see what that means, as we can’t imagine what else there is to say that can’t be done with, you know, words.

Speaking of words, the little drawings are not yet acceptable in any formal piece of writing.  The day may come when they will pop up in texts of legislation, international treaties or Supreme Court decisions.  If this is hard to imagine, that may be because whatever particular nuance or context they seem to add to your text message it is  far too imprecise for the clarity and specificity demanded in a more formal document.

Thinking about how, when and why you are using emoji in your writing could help you to become a stronger writer. Were you forced to express the messages that these convey into written language, with all the possible shades of meaning available — as a kind of puzzle-solving, it could actually be fun — you might find yourself growing into a sharper thinker, with more vocabulary and more tools at your disposal to figure out what you are thinking and to express it clearly to somebody else.

This is not to suggest that images cannot be wonderful and expressive and powerful. Human culture would be far poorer without them. I will expand later on this idea and its relationship to words and sentences. But in the meantime, I will try to develop some exercises that will allow you to play around with the trading of words for emoji and see where that takes you.

Boy, am I 😎 or what ⁉️  (JK JK)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s