Me and my emojis (part 3 in an occasional series on digital tech)

Every once in a while I post about digital technology. And if you read earlier posts you’d know I have a mixed history with technology. Well, I was enjoying the Eurovision Song Contest #ESC2017 (ok judge me, I like it alright…) and tweeting as I did. One chat resulted in me commenting that I was getting the hang of using emojis. I’ve noticed the ‘yoot’ are very keen on these things, and there is even an etiquette apparently, such as if you should end a FB messenger chat with the blue thumbs up? 👍 (Yes I know it us yellow…)

The key point here is, as Sharon rightly identified, that I was engaging in CPD (albeit in an informal way). And so I said I’d blog on the topic of emojis, and it got me thinking why else should these matter. I actually think that the evolution of images as part of social media communication might prove to be bigger than we older folk in education currently give credit. Verbal communication developed out of necessity a long time ago, but I assume that emotional and cultural meaning was also communicated simultaneously as language developed. Once humans began recording communication in written forms this was initially for practical reasons so information could be retained over time or transported over distance (and I’m sure handwriting wasn’t that important). Obviously this evolved too and the aesthetic quailty and beauty of written language became more and more important, with social and cultural meaning being included too. Although I can’t really explain, or understand, the obsession with grammar structures, unless these are used as a method of controlling society, but I’ll leave that rant for another day. 

Returning to emojis I wonder if they will eventually form a subset of communication supplementing other methods which are also being facilitated by advancements in technology and alongside dvelopments in social media. I think one of the most interesting developments with language is access to instant translation services or applications. The fact that computer technology is able to learn from the vast amounts of data available on the web means that these services will only get better. This may mean that learning languages for practical purposes becomes less important, that is not to say that studying and understanding language and literacy will be less important, just that the underlying reasons or rationale may change. Whether ’emoji will ever develop to become a language in its own right, allowing people who speak different languages to communicate effectively together, remains to be seen. But if it does I’ll have to try my best to learn how to ‘speak’ emoji, to help me communicate with the ‘yoot’, but of course the great advantage of emojis may be that it doesn’t need traditional, formal learning at all, as it is intuitive and instant, and also quite fun. 😎

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