Late adopters are thoughtful people. We don’t just jump on any bandwagon that rolls through the internet. We wait. We observe. We calculate and analyze. And then we jump on the bandwagon.
I am a late adopter and didn’t use emoticons for years. You know, those little symbols made of hyphens, parentheses, and semi-colons?
They appeared to be just a fad. Just wait a moment and a new craze will be along any moment.
Emoticons eventually revealed their value to me. For instance, when writing an ironic sentence, a strategic emoticon can take the place of hyperbolic speech patterns and eye winks.
But the fun soon ended. Now, if you try to create a smiley-winky-face emoticon on Facebook, or send an e-mail containing one, the software takes the liberty of placing a real smiley-winky-face. It’s upsetting.
The whole point of emoticons was to take something else, something unrelated, like punctuation, deconstruct it, rearrange it, and rebuild it in a way that creates a different meaning altogether.
Emoticons were our Post-Modern bricolage. Appropriating something from the past and making it ours. These symbols were the equivalent of painting a mustache on the Mona Lisa. And now they’re gone. Many people can’t tell you when to properly use a semi-colon, but they knew when to place an “Oh My!” face emoticon after a shocking sentence.
My challenge is this: Humans, rise up, understand what has been done to the emoticon, and create new ones.
Here are a few suggestions. An emoticon that expresses “Your Science is Flawed” or “I’m Still Thinking About That Topic We Discussed Earlier.” Or how about one that conveys “Today has been an OK day. There were definitely some human tragedies, but there were also some human victories. We didn’t make all the right choices, but the morning brings infinite new possibilities. I’m sure there will be something wonderful to discover then, so I better get plenty of sleep tonight to be ready for the challenging opportunities of tomorrow”?
I can’t wait to see what you humans come up with. Until then, I will be