Emoji may seem like the “it” form of communication, but millennials and Generation Z did not invent the pictograph. In fact, early societies had to develop a form of written language to become civilizations, and the earliest of these, Egypt and Mesopotamia, fulfilled this requirement with the original “emoji.”
As we supposedly advanced, we crafted treatises on the natural rights of man and the first distinctive American poetry. Yet now that we have proven we can conquer the written word, we no longer want to. In Apple’s iOS 10 update, autocorrect does not stop at underlining misspelled words and predictive typing does not solely prophesy “see you later.” Both programs now predict emoji – have to run to the store? Replace “run” with a runner. It’s your birthday tomorrow? Replace “birthday” with a cake.
In our need to continuously spew our opinions into the digital stratosphere, we must resort to intermittent cartoons in order to ease understanding. We have, essentially, reverted back to the earliest forms of communication ever – just in technicolor.
This is not the only way in which we revert. It has only been within that same iOS update that female professionals were added to the line-up, and it was a mere two updates prior that different skin colors were added. Visual communication, when pre-determined by a computer, falls prey to these limitations.
While no harm exists in a smiley face at the end of “Have a good day!,” we cannot afford the purely visual to overtake the written. We cannot limit our communication skills to that of 3500 B.C. So before you send that next text message, remember the sentence.