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, 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.



I like illusions. I like the magic of sleight of hand, the sight puzzled over, the pleasure of a surprise. I enjoy experimenting with photography software, particularly when the unexpected emerges from layering, and a new vision appears. The mystery of illusion almost always makes me smile. Facts can tell us about the mechanics behind many illusions, but not what happens in us when we experience them for ourselves.

Words work illusionary wonders too. We believe we know what a word means, but what I label a chair doesn’t look like yours. I think my word describes what you’re seeing, and yet it doesn’t, even if they have common characteristics. If it’s challenging to share the same sense of something that it’s possible to see and touch, the complications inherent in attempting to share the abstract is completely boggling. The words of a story that come alive to me through my mind’s translation don’t necessarily speak to you (which always amazes me when I have loved a book, and a good friend hasn’t.) Our lives are more interesting because of these differences in imprinting and interpretation. But it’s a wonder to me that the words we choose, the layers we apply, the regional peculiarities that exist in our exchanges and the presumption that our visions are similar, can actually produce anything between us but confusion. We live in a world of verbal illusion, sharing in the wide space that mysteriously interacts between our imaginations, mostly quite successfully. I am in awe.