Dearest Emoji. I’m warming up to your silly faces, your cartoonish sincerity. Being a writer, I was against you for all the usual reasons, the topmost being a belief that communication should remove ambiguity, not create more of it.
My problem was that I tried to delineate the nuances of all those sad and happy expressions. If each didn’t carry a specific meaning, why would there be so many?
I felt like the color-blind person trying to find the right word to express a certain shade of yellow. It took me a very long time to stop trying to give a dictionary definition to a thing that wasn’t a word.
Delivery, Not Substance
Early in my career, I worked with an art director who was my verbal equivalent in daily chit-chat. We both said snarky things, mostly trying to be funny. To be frank, I thought he was much more eviscerating on a personal level than I was. Yet, around the office he was fabulously outrageous and I was the word terrorist.
I knew the reason for discrepancy in reputation. His delivery was impeccably musical, delivered with a freckle-faced grin and a dismissive flick of his hand. I, however, sounded like I meant it.
That’s what I love about you, emoji. A wink on the end of the line and the reader knows I don’t really think they are the worst ever. You are the laugh track I’ve been missing all these years.