From Morse code to Emoticons
There has been Morse code, Binary, Shorthand and Text-speak, but now it seems as though language has once again evolved to create a new, faster way of messaging. More and more people are using a simple emoticon to convey their point when online, instead of the archaic and extremely complicated method of typing.
In fact recent polls have shown that more than 80% of 18-25 year olds would use a simple emoticon rather than writing their feelings. A big statistic, and sadly I don’t see that number decreasing.
Understanding online data from Facebook or other social networking sites is becoming increasingly hard due to the use of emoticons and other picture language. Before the use of emoticons, the hardest thing to analyse would’ve been sarcasm, but now a data analyst has to be able to differentiate from a smiley face, a sideways smiley face or any other emoticon that can portray levels of happiness. I don’t even want to think about when sarcastic smiley emoticons come into use.
I’m of the new generation and I still cannot make sense of the majority of this picture gibberish, so I sympathize greatly with someone older than I who has to scan through a Facebook page and attempt to make sense of it all.
Now, like any language, it becomes easier when you can actually understand what it all means. For example:
Long Hand: Don’t worry about it, I think it’s a great idea.
Text-Speak: DW bout it tink its gr8.
Emoticon-speak: 🙂 (y)
For any of you dinosaurs, that last “sentence” consisted of a smiley face followed by a thumbs up. Now obviously from that little example, you are now all experts in emoticon speak and can now easily translate the rest of these:
: ( = Sad face
% ( = Confused
And my personal favourite =: o] = Bill Clinton (Apparently)
Technology is making life easier for us but it comes at a price, it seems as though many young people are either too lazy to type, or have become so engrossed in their ‘tweeting’ and their ‘status updates’ that they can no longer communicate in the real world without the use of ‘LOL’ or a ‘smiley face’. (I attempted to research why 18-25 year olds preferred emoticons, but all my emails were responded to with a smiley, Sad or confused face, so I eventually gave up before I began to bald with stress.)