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Anna Sadovskaya: Texting indecision mitigated by smileys

By Anna Sadovskaya, Daily Fine Arts Columnist
Published February 18, 2013

Have you ever sent that text — you know exactly the one I’m talking about — at 2 a.m. on a Thursday night, and woken up the next morning, bleary-eyed and full of full-on regret?

Yeah, you have.

But it’s OK! Chances are the person you texted has sent the same message before, and they’re definitely not spreading that text around to all their friends, laughing at your impeccable spelling and grammar.

What’s the protocol for these situations? What are you even supposed to say — should you send an apology text, pretend that you didn’t even mean to send it in the first place; it was a mistake, a message sent to the wrong person? Or do you forget it ever happened, and move on with your life until the next 2 a.m. run in with your contact list?

Texting is strangely dramatic for a form of communication that is as removed as it gets. Sitting at a safe distance (or maybe not-so-safe. I’m looking at you, across-the-table texters), you have time to craft an eloquent, appropriate response to whatever message you received. But for whatever reason, as soon as a text pops up from someone vaguely important, it’s like a storm of insecurity takes grip.

“What do I say? Is this weird? How long do I wait?” Time after time, girls and guys alike freak out over ambiguously phrased messages, trying to decode the meaning behind them — and this is at the core of texting-induced stress: inability to properly communicate feelings.

Sloppy middle-of-the-night texts aside, the textually active world faces multiple communication problems. Trying to be sarcastic? No one will get it. Want to sound aloof? It’s going to sound angry. What’s the point of taking 15 minutes to create a beautiful, well-worded reply if the intended affect won’t take hold of the recipient?

That’s why the world created emojis.

Rather, that’s why Apple-produced emojis popped up on the iOS 5, and now life is easier.

Emojis, the term for picture characters used in Japanese electronic messages, are symbols that depict emotion. No longer do you have to stare at your iPhone screen, deciding what to send to the horrible “K” text.

On second thought, don’t send anything back. That doesn’t dignify a response.

The large amount of emojis available allows texters a whole new world of expression. Fusing pictures with words creates an easier way to express emotion and gives people on the receiving end a clearer understanding of the message’s intended emotion.

For example: Answering with an “I don’t know” can be a turnoff for the receiver. What if what you really mean is “STOP TEXTING ME, I DON’T WANT TO TALK TO YOU, YOU EVIL TROLL.”

It has happened before.

But sending “I don’t know” with a helpless face attached changes the entire mood. Suddenly, you’re thrust into the boat of indecision together. You two have to figure out how to stay afloat — it’s a bonding experience.

They’re fun. They’re useful. They come in handy when you have absolutely nothing else to say, and you want to continue the conversation. You can create entire masterpieces with them.

Incorporating art into texting is another way the arts invade everyday life — emojis, the fine arts aspect of texting, are responsible for artistic representations of hilarious scenarios, all delivered via texting.

Next time you want to send a horribly awkward message, do it with the help of emojis. Maybe things will end up going better than expected.


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