GIFs, Emojis, Haha and LOL!

Our culture is “operating” in a new form of language (notice I didn’t say “speaking”…). The online world, which encourages us to live our lives faster and faster, offers endless options to help us “say” things quicker. We use shorthand abbreviations for common phrases (which become outmoded through some unknown social mechanism, witness the current preference for  “haha” over “LOL” for example). Those cute little emojis can aid the reader by adding a clue to the intent of the message, (it’s your birthday so here’s a cake…) and GIFs (Graphic Interchange Formats; I had to look it up…) have grown in popularity to further refine the meaning of our communication efforts. We can just insert animated pictures in our texts and tweets to represent what we want to say and say nothing else at all! Life is good!

Graphic messages are very useful. They make it possible to be cruder and ruder faster, without misinterpretation, what luck! Their impact is more direct than acronyms, particularly if one has missed the secret briefing on what the hieroglyph means; (communication speed is not enhanced when I need to look things up.) It might be cute to add a little emoji candle or explosion graphic in a birthday message, but who can see it without a magnifying glass? Haha.

It’s extremely difficult to be funny, in writing or speech. A facial expression is a fantastic short cut to interpretation and lets you know you’re supposed to laugh, and you can see it again and again until you’re sure of it. Some GIFS are really very funny. As for making communication faster, finding just the right one might take a little time if you’re searching through the many thousands of options available on giphy.com, although you can build your own favorites collection easily over time to speed up the process. Learning to add them to a message might take a couple more days at first as you run into interface complications as I did, but no matter…it’ll get better in time. The good news for our future is that we are well on the way to being able to communicate effectively through gestures, transferring complexities through cyberspace in the roll of an eye. Words can be such a bother.

4 thoughts on “GIFs, Emojis, Haha and LOL!

  1. As we have noted on numerous occasions, sometimes the written word, and especially the abbreviated formats of texts and e-mails, are interpreted WAY off base from what we thought we were writing. If a give or emoticon can fix that, or at least ensure our reader understands that we are conveying sarcasm, humor, or a truly sincere thought, than all the better. I love the digital world, but it can be very frustrating. Even a phone call can send voice inflections and tones should eye-contact not be available. Telephone conversations are becoming a lost medium for conversation. The comparison with hieroglyphics was an interesting notion. Here we thought we were morphing into this wonderfully enlightened being; able to express advanced thoughts, concepts and ideas in exquisite detail for sharing around the world and across the generations in words and equations, and now we are going back to using hieroglyphics and logographs! “Want a new idea? Read an old book!” I worry what will happen with all our “digital knowledge and pictures” should there be a total meltdown of the systems that store and convey it? Or even just a 100 years from now? Try to find a 5-1/4″ floppy drive to read that old disk you have sitting in a box somewhere, or listen to a jam session by the Beatles recorded on 8-track tape. Anyone even have a 78rpm record player any more?

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    1. I am so with you on the notion that, as we wish and strive to keep current, we move further away from earlier cultural progressions that created what are now great memories for us. It’s hard to embrace the future without being melancholy about the past. I mourn losses and think current trends miss out on much that’s important to me, but I suspect each generation feels that the “old days” were richer and deeper and fuller than the new. How can those raised in a world driven by technology understand what’s missing in the midst of all the good they embrace and appreciate in what it offers to them? Only those who straddle both worlds can feel the difference, and sooner than not, what the past offered won’t be this particular conversation, but another we can’t even imagine. I want to point out and shout about the absurdities I think exist in the shallow world of texts, emojis and too much useless information, but the world is heading where its heading, without my opinion, I and guess I’d better try to hang on for the ride. Thanks so much for commenting!

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