First off, I should declare that I'm a major fan of social media and especially emoticons. Emoticons are without a doubt the future of our language. Yes, I ignore my mother's pleas to pick up the phone and speak to my sister. Instead, I send big sis a serious a emoji, which I know will have her reveling in laughter faster than a full sentence!
For me, emoticons help me express my emotional disposition in an instant. Even my younger brothers all know that calling someone "poo face" expressed in emoji is far more satisfying and comical in emoji than it would ever be in text form, right?
But the reality is that emoji isn't just for family banter and sarcastic dialogue. Nor is it simply to be regarded as an amusing supplement to language. We teens are at the forefront of a generation that is living in the now. The "now" we are presented with includes a phenomenal new language of opportunity. A language that gives us the chance to express our emotions, love, anger -- whatever that emotion may be -- in a nanosecond. The passage of creative express is boundless and guess what? It's all from that wee gadget we call our mobile phone!
Imagine our poor parents. How on earth did they cope with utilizing an exclamation point (!) in a sentence to express sentiment? Or writing full sentences? Let's consider how long that took!
There has clearly been a void in our contemporary culture and it has been filled with emoticons. It's now up to us how we respond and nurture that new language. I will admit I haven't got 'round to reading Moji Dick, which is the translation of Moby Dic into Japanese emoji language, but I did absolutely know that my first music video would be an homage to emoticons -- with a message of course. Why? Because emoticons have the potential to be way stronger than words, with a simple graphic. (I must say, hats off to the American magazine Puck, which in 1881 created dashes to make little smiley faces. My goodness, were they ahead of themselves, eh?) Anyway, I digress. Now onto my next gripe. "Social Security" -- yes, let's talk about our lack of etiquette in social media.
Is it OK to beg for a follow or a retweet from absolute strangers? Would we walk up to random folks in the street and ask them to do us a favor? Would we then get out our phones and show them our cherished collection of cat or baby pictures? NOPE! And don't think by brazenly shoving in a few wee cute emoji hearts (that's almost blasphemous in my book) that it will make it any more acceptable!
There are rules in social media and like all contemporary cultures, we must get accustomed to them and respect them. So it's not OK to flood my feed with senseless images of your personal pets or kids (one or two is more than fine -- and mum I hope you're taking note). It's not OK to take pictures inside my crib, my private space then blast it without permission on social media. And it's not okay to flood my feed with all your bad deeds. The reality is I don't think you're cool, showing me how drunk you've been the night before, or how much champagne or vodka you've downed, probably paid for by daddy's credit card.
The theme of next week's TEDXTeen is that the best ideas are often the most simple. Simple, yet big, meaningful... inspirational. Wouldn't it be great to have our feed's flooded with such inspirational ideas? We teens have the potential of being incredible game-changers. Surely, we can complement the Japanese with simple ideas that harness and grow the world of emoji -- that nurture our own creativity. I try to do that with music. What do you do it with? That's the question.
If you are going to truly embrace social media and harness that potential of creative expression, then give it your own personal twist. And in the spirit of the lighthearted nature of such creative expression, the least I could do was to create a Tallia Storm emoticon -- yup, complete with "big hair" for my very first music video. So enjoy and remember to think before you tweet! #SocialSecurity
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