People Will One Day Communicate Solely in Emotive Animal Pictures


If there’s one thing that still sucks about living in a technologically-advanced society in the year 2013, it’s the fact that we’re all expected to communicate with one another using long strings of words that (ugh) sometimes abide by the rules of grammar. How has technology not eliminated this inconvenience yet? I have always hoped that, by the time I have a child of my own, computers will have made it so that I don’t have to utter a single linguistic unit to her.

According to the Wall Street Journal, there’s still time for that to occur, and the tides are turning once and for all. In an article whose sub-headline really reads, “Digital ‘Stickers’ Sent Via Smartphone Express Emotions, for a Price; Flatulent Bunnies,” the answer to this conundrum is made clear: emoji, or “stickers,” as the cool kids are calling this new, oddly specific iteration of them. Here are some examples of how amazing and time-saving stickers can be:

When When Tanya Sichynsky wants to tell friends she’s tired, the 19-year-old University of Georgia student… sends an image from her smartphone of a sleepy cartoon bunny holding a coffee mug with a smiley face.
When Kylin Brown messes up dinner, the 23-year-old Indianapolis work-at-home mother uses her smartphone to send her mother a fingernail-size cartoon of a girl running away from an oven in flames.
When Callie Beusman, a 22-year-old blogger and Woman About Town, wants to express her disgust and sadness about the fact that legislation that would outlaw nearly all abortions after 22 weeks is on the fast track to the House floor, she sends an image of a mustachio-ed cartoon villain trampling on a feminist while Gloria Steinem looks on in tears.

(Okay, not all of these are from the article, but the point is that there are a lot of stickers out there).

Here’s further proof of the inevitability of humanity’s long-awaited return to the medium of the cave painting: Mark Zuckerberg is down with stickers. That’s why you now are capable of responding to your friend’s extensive Facebook missive regarding how she’s anxious to hear back from law school with a giant image of an anthropomorphic ice cream cone extending a shamrock (no words necessary). Zuckerberg loves stickers. When he wants to express his approval of a project, he apparently “sends from his smartphone a special blue icon of a thumbs-up sign, say people who know his communication patterns.” I wonder if he’s sent the smiling poo emoji to the Winklevosses yet?

This new trend has sent quite a few startups into a sticker arms race, all of whom want to create the new cute lil’ animal face of all human interaction:

Startups such as Path Inc., a San Francisco social network, compete with Silicon Valley giants to deploy sticker arsenals. In March, Path released its first batch: Alongside Willa, a sassy wombat, it offers Pepper, a red panda with cream-colored cheeks, and Charlie the Cat, who likes tulips and wine.

“A sticker is worth a thousand words,” says Dave Morin, the chief executive of Path, rightfully believing that roughly three pages of written text are exactly equivalent to an animated image of a cat in a bow tie playing a keyboard.

However, not everyone is down with stickers. Scott Fahlman, a computer science professor and self-described “fuddy-duddy” who invented the first ever smiley face, has this to say: “Sometimes I feel like Dr. Frankenstein. My creature started as benign but it’s gone places I don’t approve of.”

What r u even talking about??

“Why There’s a Sassy Wombat on Your Phone” [WSJ]

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