Why we take so long to choose that emoji🐒 - a quick look into humans #1
4 min read
I caught myself just now, staring at the screen thinking "which emoji should I use?" when responding to a tweet - but why? Why are emojis so important and what is their true purpose? Why do we love them so much?
Emojis are the utmost perfect way of presenting our best self over text on a digital media. I'm going so far as saying being "good" with emojis is a very similar skill as having a great choice of words, being well-spoken. Think about it, most words in most situations have a very specific meaning that all of the listeners will understand the exact same way. Maybe not when it lands in the cortex, but definitely at the part where it gets pre-processed. It will be the same meaning, a hopefully correct representation of the outside world.
But the speakers choose the words. We do it mostly in an optimized way, constantly improved with every single text-based, face-to-face and even imagined scenarios. Through a giant data sample that is all of our past memories, we can calculate with ever improving accuracy how others will react to specific words we say. We do it because we want to influence the recipients in a way that is more beneficial for us in the future. Now, of course not every single interaction will be at this level of scrutiny. My idea would be that the length & depth of a personal relationship are directly correlated with the amount of work it takes to transform our thoughts into language.
The most important part here is imagining - based on that giant memory dataset - what others will feel and think once they receive our output. Feeling is a crucial part of it because all humans are based on feelings, but there is a difference in level of current consciousness in every person (this has to be accounted for in the output as well). An all bugs are insects, but not all insects are bugs kind of thing. Not all think, but all feel.
I'm derailing, why are emojis important again? Because they do some of the job of words when in a digital, text-based environment, but that's not the big deal. It's how they are used to represent our emotions - which is what we all are deep down - but you can choose your own. We can choose if I want 🤔 or 🧐 as they represent a different feeling, a different reaction and different kind of person behind them. [This will only be accurate if you are using an Apple device] - 🤔 is curious, a bit affirmative but not too agressive. 🧐 can be understood as nosey but also as a determined detective in a positive sarcastic way. We subconsciously realize that the recipient seeing either-or will likely feel a certain way given the context, so we try to influence that feeling for the better. The amount of time we spend on this can depend on a ton of variables. How do we perceive the other - who we're texting - on a social, sexual, professional and so many more ways for example. We're going to use very different emojis with our best friend than with that interesting romantic affair. They are more than just words, they are stories in themsleves. They are a calculation of our current mood, past experiences, our emotional goal with the specific text and our best guess at what the other will feel after recieving it.
It's a calculation of a Billion mostly unkown variables - in short. If your brain decides it is something that will get you a better chance at passing on your DNA, it will dedicate enough computing power to it. But of course it doesn't have to be an automatic process, we can very well step into our consciousness. It's still a very young evolutionary trait in humans, but it is starting to work. "Stepping into your consciousness", that is. That topic will need a next post tho, cus this one's feeling finished.
The image that popped into my head as I noticed this pattern was an open wound with thick skin, and seeing a bright, but very fazed light on the other end. And now I can't un-notice this pattern...
Blue Dream - Apple Music mixed hip-hop station