HCOM 214: Interpersonal COMM & Conflict

Learning interpersonal communication skills to improve every part of our lives

Emoticons: The Marriage of Language and Technology

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If there is anything that I have learned in my adult years, it is that humans are dependent on culture. We are social creatures that thrive on communication. Symbols are a crucial part of the human dimension. In fact, they are the basis of human communication. Where animals communicate via signs, humans communicate by means of symbols. Where signs illicit pointless responses that are devoid of consciousness, symbols go even deeper on the mental level. Symbols can have various meanings meant to evoke different responses.  From a very young age, we learn and develop skill in communicating with symbols. It goes without saying that symbols are important to we social creatures, known as human beings. Another important feature of our daily lives today is social media. It has a reach almost as vast as that of culture itself. Just as language, an intangible part of our culture, evolves so does technology, a tangible part of culture. A phenomenon in the realm of human communication that merges these two concepts is the emoticon. These symbols are developing a more significant role in communication. Simple variations and combinations of letters on a keyboard can be used to create a range of symbols that convey feelings or tone. Emoticons are a product of the 1990s, and the newest model of emoticons are Emojis. Where emoticons expressed feeling and tones, emojis are actually digital images/icons in miniature that go as far as expressing ideas. I , myself, use emojis on a daily basis when communicating with my friends and family. It is fair to say , and admit, that I am strung out on Emojis. Emojis, the newest mode of our digital hieroglyphics, are popular in casual or informal speech. When speaking with others casually I tend to try to exude an upbeat and content mien. For doing so, I use the commonplace “smiling face with squinting eyes” emoji to show good cheer or the “laughing with tears of joy” for an exaggerated display of laughter and good humor. As a self-confessed Emoji addict, I feel that my informal communication would not be as effective. I feel that communicating with emojis would make my dialogue very dry and insipid. Emojis are  small convenient media that easily go further than words can in conveying sentiments and notions. I wonder what the next mode of emoticons will be or how just how far Emojis will go.


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