By Zara Maqbool
Since a few years I have noticed how many people including myself who have fully embraced the digital era have started using emojis instead of words to communicate to one another. Seems like we are at a loss of words these days and a smiley, heart or party popper used in abundance can express our feelings to our family and friends. A birthday wish can be a variety of emojis rather than a ‘happy birthday’ or anger can simply be expressed by one orange ugly face rather than explaining what made you angry in the first place. I feel our generation is hiding behind these emojis to avoid saying what we really want to.
I have also felt that many a times this abundance of emojis used don’t seem so genuine. It seems like a ‘marshmallow or counterfeit stroke’ to me bordering between expressing a genuine and fake feeling. So according to a psychoanalysis theory, a stroke is a verbal or non-verbal unit of recognition that we use to communicate to others. We can say ‘I love you verbally or express it physically but at times the strokes we give to others are either a counterfeit stroke that seems positive but actually is negative. Like saying you cooked well but the salt was a little sharp. Or a marshmallow stroke that seems like this tsunami of love we shower on others that it seems fake to the one who is receiving it.
I have seen people who I don’t know me well enough sending me hearts, which totally boggled me. I mean seriously you love me when I don’t even know your middle name?
For the longest time I resisted the use of emojis, my pride and passion was using old-fashioned English to express myself. But then I started to feel that I was being miserly in expressing myself and need the support of these emojis to truly express how I feel.
Emojis which is derived from the Japanese meaning “picture character can make conversations much more fun and can add a lot of color to a conversation like using it for a wink, or eye roll or feeling embarrassed and so on. But I feel somewhere along the way people have actually started believing that emojis can help them express better than words.
Yes, they definitely at times convey what we are feeling in a very apt fashion and convey the mental state and behavior but its how the words are failing which bothers me.
I feel at times using an Emojis saves us from saying what we actually feeling specifically and is teaching us not to be congruent but diplomatic with our feelings. Like sending a heart after saying ‘what we want to’ can compensate for the discomfort that words made us feel. The number of heart emojis we all exchange at a regular basis makes me wonder ‘why is that love not being felt in reality in this world?’
It’s like Pakistan sending an email out to India saying everything with 2 pink hearts on the end. Maybe I am being too judgmental but I would go with my gut feeling here. I feel we use emojis much more casually and carelessly without any real feeling behind it at times. I am all for the use of emojis if each one when used is being used from a place of sincerity and the feeling that its trying to express.
Story first published: 6th January 2018