"Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he."
-- Proverbs 29:18, King James Bible (KJV)

Tuesday, March 01, 2016

Dumbing Down via the New Facebook Emoticons

Amit Chowdhry has the story at Forbes in Facebook Emoji 'Reactions': Are There Ulterior Motives?

Emily Dreyfuss at WIRED quotes linguist Geoff Pullum of the University of Edinburgh -- who also contributes to the blog Language Log -- as saying:
“It looks like syntax is being thrown out the window here and being replaced by grunts like animals would make.”"
Facebook has released new emoticons so that people can show more "reactions" than simply LIKE (THUMB UP), which is viewed as being too limited.

So -- of course -- we expected to find other options such as "interesting", "inspiring", "thoughtful", "trite", "motivating", "blessed", "disrespectful", "educational", "enlightening", "valuable", "moving", "useful", "brilliant", "disgraceful", "believable", "unbelievable", "lies", "truth", "I understand", "I share the feeling", "painfull", "disgusting", "made my day" etc. The range of human emotions and feelings is immense. NONE OF THESE!

Rather, there are only FIVE new emojis, one worse than the next. If these badly designed infantile symbols are intended to cover the emotions that mark the major reactions that people have to Facebook postings, then they should close down Facebook today as an offense to the human race.

LOVE is pictured by Facebook as a white heart on a red background. A white heart is not something we affiliate with love. We just had Valentine's Day. At least there the people are clever enough to put a red heart on a white background. Besides, we think "love" is something wonderful and not as widespread as it should be. It is hardly something you can express by pushing a Facebook button as regards whatever someone has posted. It waters down this important emotion and makes it trite -- which much of Facebook is. Our grade for this emoticon is an F, FAILED, for which a special emoji should be created, i.e. a FAILED emoji to cover the many cases in which things have not met up to expectations.

HAHA is represented as a yellow (?) head with a mouth consisting of 3/4 red tongue, a 1/4 black roof of a mouth and two point-facing wide-set black arrows >  < as squinting (?) eyes. We are not sure which emotion this represents - laughing with or laughing about or being tickled pink at what one has just read or seen. Where is the nose, the ears, the neck, the hair? Our grade for this emoji is WHAHAHAT??, WHAT a joke, another failed emoji.

WOW is again a yellow head with black eyebrows up so high they are nearly on the crown of the head, with black large vertically elliptical dots as eyes and an even larger black elliptical mouth longer vertically than horizontally. Our grade for this emoji is OW-OW, what a PAIN. It looks too much like one of those wOWful paintings of a "scream" that people have paid millions for. wOWful.

SAD is once again a yellow head with black only features, including  black outwardly downward curving eyebrows, this time near the eyes, which are two small black circles, a downward curved black mouth, one overly large blue teardrop on the right-hand side facing the user -- perhaps this is a "hemi-tear", a new one-sided sadness of which we are unaware. SAD is the correct description for this SADLY designed emoji. Definitely worth crying ABOUT.

ANGRY is once again a yellow head but here with a reddening upper head hemisphere and totally black facial features on that same yellow background as before, with "sailing" eyebrows curved upwardly directly over the now even smaller black eye dots and a black horizontal mouth. We feel IRE when we see something this badly designed for an emotion that ought to be very seldom when merely reading online postings. People can be CONTRA, they can be IRRITATED, they can say that something is BAD or HURTFUL or, far more prevalent than anything out there is the label JUNK, which describes 50% of what is posted online at least, which should be among the five new emojis. We are ANGRY that JUNK has not been included and that EMOJI should be a totally bright red circle with the word JUNK inscribed on it.

We ourselves have the capacity to like many things, so that to LIKE something is no big differentiation for us. An emoji for OK, actually, would be better in many cases. Often LIKE is used for THANK YOU. Now that would be a sensible emoji. THANK YOU. Try it, people at Facebook. Just two words in symbol form. Why not have a contest about it. That would drum up users.

LOVE we find is a wonderful emotion that has almost nothing to do with Facebook postings and assuredly is not correctly represented by a "white" heart. We would LOVE to see this emoji removed as an option for people to push when commenting on trite Facebook JUNK.

The FACES in OUR world have NOSES and EARS and we usually add a NECK too if we are doing an abstract stick drawing of a person's face. TEETH and HAIR are also possible. Faces consisting only of a mouth, round pupil-shaped or similar eyes and eyebrows have little to do with the real world. YELLOW is by no means a facial color for anyone, unless you are a freak for PAC-MAN, who is more similar to these emojis than humans.

A "belly laugh" HA-HA is much rarer in real life than a SMILE or a GRIN or a HUMOR WINCE. The old LOL "laughing out loud" is much closer to the truth than the infantile HAHA, which covers the whole range of raucous laughter to laughing out of disgust. Who comes up with this nonsense?

The number of truly "awesome" WOW moments in a lifetime can be counted on one's hands and fingers, whereas many things are capable of true SURPRISE, INSIGHT or POSITIVE or NEGATIVE REACTION or INTELLECTUAL CURIOSITY. Yes, even AMAZEMENT is a possibility. WOW was a term big in the last century that was used when people apparently did not have the facility to express their positive feelings in proper words. They EMOTED.

SAD might better be replaced with "OH DEAR". Sadness is not an emotion that is always accompanied by tears. Rather, sadness is RELEASED by TEARS. If an emoji is needed to express condolence, "sadness" is not the right expression. Maybe EMPATHY should be tried in symbol form, or, "I UNDERSTAND", or "WE ARE WITH YOU". All preferable to a one-teared SAD PAC-MAN.

Back to the drawing board at Facebook.