Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Emojis: The Unacceptable Face of Text Conversations

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Emojis: The Unacceptable Face of Text Conversations

Article excerpt

IRECEIVED one of those text messages they have these days. It had an emoji at the end, in this case a face with some sort of expression on it. I stared at the expression for about 10 seconds, which doesn't sound very long but just try it. You wouldn't want a Chinese burn for 10 seconds, let me tell you.

In the end I gave up and texted back, using proper punctuation, like a gentleman from the 19th century. I am a man who believes punctuation marks are primarily for making sentences clear, rather than building up sideways winky faces.

"I'm sorry, I don't understand the emoji at the end of your text. What does the expression signify?" "its a smile btwn a normal smile and a big smile not quite a grin bt nearly", my interlocutor said, unhidebound by my own compulsion to use vowels, capital letters, and commas.

"I see," I texted back, although I didn't.

For the rise of obscure pictures in communications is the worst thing about the modern world, even more than men in flip-flops and having to specify "English breakfast tea" in coffee shops. A picture paints a thousand words, they say, but they forget that most of them need captions.

I spend far too much of my time deciphering symbols when I could just be reading words and understanding them immediately, especially when time is pressing, for example when one needs the toilet.

If there is any time for when clarity is key, it is when one is providing lavatorial facilities. And yet restaurant and bar owners appear to take a perverse pride in making toilet signs as obscure as possible.

There was a trend in the 80s and early 90s - during the rise of the "fun" pub - to label toilets according to the theme of the establishment, for example "gangsters" and "molls", "Sheilas" and "Bruces", "Irish men" and "Irish women".

If you had a basic grounding in the cultural references, you could get by without too much difficulty. This is probably why Aztec theme pubs did not get much of a foothold in our high streets. It is difficult to take a hen party to a bar if you're not sure of the difference between "Ometochtli" and "Tlazolteotl" (Google them; I did.) I second | emoticon comes toilet But now restaurants and bars are marking their toilet doors with obscure symbols to denote male and female, and it's time they stopped. …

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