Now that I’m on summer break, I have dedicated my waking hours to watching Food Network, working out, and wasting time on my phone.
Late one night, I decided to create my own Bitmoji while watching Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives. A Bitmoji is a personalized caricature of yourself, and it’s accompanied by a menu of hundreds of different reactions you can send to friends over text message or on social media. Even now, I’m not sure why I created a Bitmoji for myself because I have a discrepancy with the use of emojis - and other types of images that poorly sum up our reactions or moods when we could easily use our words to fully communicate our thoughts.
I have a problem with symbols like emojis because words capture emotion and meaning significantly better than any computer generated symbol, but people still resort to a single click of an emoji rather than real words.
I remember my senior year of high school, my English class read George Orwell’s 1984. The novel set in a dystopian future, where the government is based on a God-like figure, Big Brother and The Party. In the book, the power of words used by citizens begins to diminish because The Party implements a new language called Newspeak. Essentially, Newspeak is a simplified version of English but controlled so citizens have less power to even think about causing an uprising.
Syme, a character tasked with creating Newspeak tells Winton Smith, the protagonist, “Don’t you see that the whole aim of Newspeak is to narrow the range of thought? In the end, we shall make thoughtcrime literally impossible, because there will be no words in which to express it.”
In 2017, I see emojis as our Newspeak because we overuse these simplified symbols instead of using words that carry real power. Power to speak articulately in public spaces, to journal effectively, to write letters to political leaders, and to create other meaningful acts that require good writing skills.
Emojis are slowly chipping away at our will and order to communicate with words effectively. In 1984, they were losing their words, and those words helped to cause a revolt against The Party because they had the power of thought. So if in the near future, when our freedoms are put to risk, we will be better off using our words for thought and action, rather than a string of emojis that translate into nothingness.
Every now and then, it’s fine to add an emoji, or two, into a fun text to your friend, but replacing entire sentences with symbols that communicate a message can be dangerous. Meanings are lost and misunderstandings are created.
Emma Eekhoff is a 19-year-old Seattle college student. She's not afraid to share her stance on something, whether it is an art form like music or recent events in the world. She's been writing in a journalist setting for only a few years, through The Growl Online or for a music blog. She loves to connect and network with new people in the worlds of business and music, travel to new places and eat new interesting foods.