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Friday, February 8, 2013

Facebook Is Trying to Reinvent the Emoticon

Posted by on Fri, Feb 8, 2013 at 1:13 PM

This BuzzFeed story is fascinating and nauseating at the same time.

Facebook wants an awful lot from its emoticons: They should be able to convey complex emotions, for example, like contemplation, admiration, affirmation, maternal love, determination, devotion, resignation, and gratitude.

But how, in a tiny digital image, do you depict something as subtle as shame as opposed to remorse, or shyness as opposed to modesty? Current emoticons can't do that, or anything close to it. So Facebook has turned to Pixar story illustrator and former storyboard artist at the Wallace and Gromit studio Matt Jones, to help make something entirely new. He's charged, basically, with reinventing the smiley.

There are quite a few forums I visit on a semi-regular basis that have animated emoticons covering a whole range of emotions, and they almost always lower the quality of the conversation. Sometimes I've seen discussions about pop culture basically devolve into short novels made up of character-sized animated faces. Does Facebook really want to devolve the standard wall conversation even further? Will emoticons that are more complex than the standard concepts you can cobble together out of a few punctuation marks catch on with the general public? Wouldn't it be better for society in general if everyone just learned how to use their words?

 

Comments (30) RSS

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1
"Wouldn't it be better for society in general if everyone just learned how to use their words?"

Yes, but that has anything to do with Facebook, how?
Posted by c):{0 on February 8, 2013 at 1:22 PM · Report this
ArtBasketSara 2
:/
Posted by ArtBasketSara on February 8, 2013 at 1:22 PM · Report this
Cracker Jack 3
They have poop. I think that says a lot.
Posted by Cracker Jack on February 8, 2013 at 1:25 PM · Report this
yelahneb 4
Several folk have predicted this potential outcome for the human race - that language would de-evolve back to pictographs. Here's one take on this:

http://www.tor.com/blogs/2012/10/most-ci…
Posted by yelahneb http://www.strangebutharmless.com on February 8, 2013 at 1:27 PM · Report this
Some Old Nobodaddy Logged In 5
The written word is being used to fill a niche it has never had to fill in the history of humanity: be a medium for the casual conversation. It's been used for the highest forms of expression, in terms of art, science, etc, and the lowest: graffiti. But the main mode of human interaction comes in those casual moments between people-- How ya doin'? You gonna be there? That's some fucked up shit. and so on....

That's where most of the emotional language takes place, the body language, the tone, the inflection. ie. Just the kind of communication that the written word doesn't convey.

Emoticons are a stop-gap, a solution we have until something better comes along. It's humans evolving. Yeah, it's not perfect, what is? I figure, enjoy the process, and stop looking at the current situation as How It Will Be For The Rest of Your Life. The genie ain't goin back in that bottle any time soon.
Posted by Some Old Nobodaddy Logged In on February 8, 2013 at 1:31 PM · Report this
Supreme Ruler Of The Universe 6

I've noted more people adding emoticons to their FB posts.

I hate it.

Posted by Supreme Ruler Of The Universe http://www.you-read-it-here-first.com on February 8, 2013 at 1:39 PM · Report this
7
In answer to your questions, Paul...

¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Posted by pbelamy on February 8, 2013 at 1:42 PM · Report this
Supreme Ruler Of The Universe 8

Oh, and remember when we were taking about how Seattle is Norway not San Francisco (bright colors versus muted).

Look, see, these are appropriate colors for place with lots of cloudy rainy days (Tumwater development):

http://www.lennar.com/New-Homes/Washingt…

Ok, well, even Vikings have to have a little color:

http://www.aanetsen.net/images/Norway/No…

And if you don't believe me that Washington is Norway, go and watch "Trollhunter". Yes, it does look the same.

Posted by Supreme Ruler Of The Universe http://www.you-read-it-here-first.com on February 8, 2013 at 1:45 PM · Report this
Cato the Younger Younger 9
Facebook is nothing more that a corporate tool to push their crap onto the consumer.

And that's why Facebook will be with us forever....I expect that within three more Presidential administrations all Americans will be forced to have a Facebook account. :)
Posted by Cato the Younger Younger on February 8, 2013 at 1:48 PM · Report this
10
It requires a complex palette of nuanced expressions to fully communicate the emotional overtones surrounding that Instagram™ picture of what I had for lunch.
Posted by Proteus on February 8, 2013 at 1:48 PM · Report this
Will in Seattle 11
Where is the FB emoticon for redirecting users of the Washington Post and NY Times to a FB error page?
Posted by Will in Seattle http://www.facebook.com/WillSeattle on February 8, 2013 at 1:49 PM · Report this
aardvark 12
a language of pure emotion. you're against that?
Posted by aardvark on February 8, 2013 at 1:55 PM · Report this
13
Yay for what @5 said.
Posted by sarah70 on February 8, 2013 at 1:57 PM · Report this
14
(╯°□°)╯︵ ┻━┻)
Posted by Ruke on February 8, 2013 at 2:00 PM · Report this
raku 15
That's great. For everyone who doesn't like it, there's already a Facebook for people who don't care about the emotions of humans, called Reddit.
Posted by raku on February 8, 2013 at 2:09 PM · Report this
Grant Brissey, Emeritus 16
Better, but increasingly unlikely.
Posted by Grant Brissey, Emeritus http://www.grantropolis.com/ on February 8, 2013 at 2:09 PM · Report this
ingopixel 17
Just look at Skype, their animated emoticons are excellent and in my opinion, they elevate the conversation.
Posted by ingopixel on February 8, 2013 at 2:17 PM · Report this
Timrrr 18
You know, y`all are assuming these emoticons are being developed just for use in posts.

Consider: they might, as likely, become a more gradated replacement for the ever-so-simplistic "like" button.
Posted by Timrrr on February 8, 2013 at 2:26 PM · Report this
Mittens Schrodinger 19
Why can't language evolve into just as complex and rich a form of communication using pictures or pictograms as in the use of letters and words? Both are just vehicles for communicating concepts with layers of direct meaning, nuance, connotation, etc. One is not superior to another.

On a side note, I have noticed facebook posts now using words to describe the emoticons that used to be posted. for example *sadface* or *excited smiley*. It's a weird phenomenon.
Posted by Mittens Schrodinger on February 8, 2013 at 2:33 PM · Report this
sirkowski 20
(╯°□°)╯︵ ʞooqǝɔɐɟ
Posted by sirkowski http://www.missdynamite.com on February 8, 2013 at 2:39 PM · Report this
21
And here I thought pictographic languages tended to connote less advanced societies because they lacked the capacity to be used in complex and abstract ways....
Posted by Faber on February 8, 2013 at 2:39 PM · Report this
Pick1 22
We still need a universal sign for "this is being said in sarcasm". Other than that, yeah, emoticons suck.
Posted by Pick1 on February 8, 2013 at 2:39 PM · Report this
chinaski 23
the emoticons will become self-aware and kill us all.
Posted by chinaski on February 8, 2013 at 2:49 PM · Report this
Dr_Awesome 24
Use of emoticons in on-line forum discussions indicates the idiots. The higher the emoticon-to-text ratio the stupider the post (and the stupider the person posting).
Posted by Dr_Awesome on February 8, 2013 at 2:54 PM · Report this
Fnarf 25
ಠ_ಠ
Posted by Fnarf http://www.facebook.com/fnarf on February 8, 2013 at 3:46 PM · Report this
Will in Seattle 26
@24 for the win.
Posted by Will in Seattle http://www.facebook.com/WillSeattle on February 8, 2013 at 3:57 PM · Report this
Beetlecat 27
@26 seriously?
Posted by Beetlecat on February 8, 2013 at 4:33 PM · Report this
spaceapple 28
The purpose of new emoticons is not to facilitate communication on the network- it's an attempt to extract another level of information to sell. Instead of saying a number of people "like" something, FB will be able to say that they know exactly how people feel about brands, tv shows, etc
Posted by spaceapple on February 8, 2013 at 4:45 PM · Report this
sirkowski 29
Kids these days and their emotions.
Posted by sirkowski http://www.missdynamite.com on February 9, 2013 at 10:23 AM · Report this
Skye Blu 30
Pfft! Why did they hire someone to do that when there are entire galleries full of dancing emotes on Deviantart?
http://browse.deviantart.com/customizati…
Posted by Skye Blu on February 9, 2013 at 8:01 PM · Report this

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