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Friday, February 7, 2020

Emoji is fake

There’s a deeper question about the appeal of digital embodiment, though, regardless of whether it surfaces as emoji, emoticons, gifs, or another form. The facial expressions are by far the most popular, and yet there’s an important way in which they’re not like our ordinary kinds of facial expressions.

When we’re interacting with other people, we find the most trustworthy kind of facial expression to be the kind that’s given off involuntarily: the burst of laughter or sob in the throat that’s difficult to fake.

And yet you can’t involuntarily give off an emoji. They’re all given out deliberately—you choose exactly which one to send, and you know that everyone else does, too.

Emoji and all of their relatives are fake by definition. If we try to say that they map directly onto our emotional facial expressions, then we have a weird mismatch.

How is it that we’re so keen on such disingenuous symbols?

What’s to enjoy about a world where everyone is wearing a mask?
Source: Because Internet: Understanding the New Rules of Language by Gretchen McCulloch

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