Can you chat happily without emojis?

"How can you chat happily without emojis!" This is a sigh from netizens.

Indeed, conversations with emoticons are low-cost and efficient. An emoticon is worth a thousand words.

Emoji can dissolve the identity gap caused by factors such as culture, economy, age, etc., and it is also easy to form cultural identity between interest groups.

From replicating daily emotions, to capturing, marking, and generating era and social expressions, emojis have changed from emoji to social networking tools. As a cultural phenomenon, after several iterations, they have developed into a media force that affects social psychology and interpersonal communication.

From the invention of emoji to the upgrade of emoji packages, it is inseparable from the development of media technology.

In the future, what kind of digital communication landscape will the development of media create?

Looking at it this way, "how can I chat happily without an emoji" has become a question to be answered, a question that does not seem to be a problem.

Emojis allow people to express their emotions and feelings as if they were face-to-face

  According to the 49th Statistical Report on China's Internet Development Status, as of December 2021, my country's instant messaging users reached 1.007 billion, accounting for more than 97.5% of the total number of Internet users.

Not only that, a large number of short videos, knowledge sharing, and game applications all have powerful social functions, and social media has risen strongly and has been quickly and widely accepted.

Today, non-kinship factors such as work and interests are rebuilding the free connection between people, and the intelligent connection of algorithm matching is gradually increasing. More diverse and richer social needs remain to be met.

  Before the emergence of media, humans perceive the world through body senses, and also communicate with the information transmitted by the body.

Studies have shown that in face-to-face conversations, 70% of communication information is conveyed through body language such as expressions, gestures, and movements, 23% through tone of voice, and only 7% rely on text transmission.

In interpersonal communication, expressions are indispensable.

The Italian philosopher Agamben believes that inorganic matter can only reveal itself through the "solidified body", and the animal's face is "rigid" and the expression is "absent", and it can only show its attitude towards the world through the body.

The human face is different. All the internal emotions and external actions of the human being will be involved in the face, and the human spirit, emotion, and soul overflow into expressions.

On the surface, people express themselves through the face, but in fact, the face expresses people with expressions, and expressions are an important medium for emotional communication.

  The invention of writing and more media has overcome the limitations of time and space and liberated the human body.

When communication is no longer dependent on the body, people's expressions, actions, voices, thoughts, etc. have to be migrated into the medium.

In 1982, when humans used computer language to output the first smiling emoji ":-)", it was precisely to solve the problem of emotional expression in the Internet space.

  The little yellow face (emoji) symbol migrates, replicates and replicates human expressions and emotions in its list, which is constantly updated and is widely used around the world.

During online conversations, people show their emotions related to "laughing" with symbols such as grinning and crying, and express dissatisfaction with symbols such as frowning, tears, sweating, and surprise.

Alternative expressions such as fading, cracking, prosperous, and eating melon are not only used freely in online communication, but are also high-frequency expressions.

In 2014, emoji expressions were added as new words by the online version of Oxford Dictionaries, and symbols such as laughing, crying, and love were selected for many annual word selections.

Emoji opens up the imagination of online communication and enriches the expression of online language.

  With the emergence of picture emoticons, users have widely participated in the generation and sharing, which has improved the function of emoticons in social networking.

The pictures of emoticons are based on characters, animals or cartoon images in real life or in film and television works, and supplementary descriptions are given in words.

They hide popular passwords and contain cultural identities, which are freely shared by users and can also be generated by themselves.

Emoji not only express emotions in interpersonal communication, but also become a means of dissemination of film and television works and social events.

Emojis record hot events, express cultural phenomena, and present collective psychology, gradually forming a much-watched emoji culture.

Easy to manage, intuitive and subtle, making people addicted to emoticons

  It is said that new communication tools can greatly compress the living space of expression packs.

For example, video calling enables remote face-to-face communication, and the recording and communication of expressions and emotions with the picture quality and audio of smartphones are also more direct and realistic than expression packs.

However, people still rely on emojis, as netizens said, "You may not have money in your phone, but you can't have emojis."

Technological updates are always on the way, but emoticons have never been overwhelmed by the wave of technology.

  During face-to-face communication, emotional fluctuations and changes will be shown on the face, but expression management is not easy.

Although humans can control other body organs through the central nervous system, the face refuses to be instrumental, and giving orders to the face may not be effective.

On the contrary, emoticons themselves are tools for online communication. They are both intuitive and subtle. You can choose to be gentle or sharp, express unrestrained or cold, candid or fake. It is obviously easier to manage emoticons than to manage emoticons. Using emoticons to communicate is handy. .

In addition, face-to-face communication requires higher people's ability to respond and control, while online communication has more space for thinking and preparation.

Netizens said, "Adults don't write expressions on their faces, they all have their own expression packs."

  The joy of emoji chat is not only about the freedom of manipulation, but also about the freedom of emotional expression.

If you see cute babies and pets with teardrops in their eyes, and cartoon character emojis crying and crying, if you think they are crying and expressing grievances, you may miss the point.

Look at the footnotes of the text - "My little pearl is about to fall off", "I'll be fine after crying for a month", the grievance and sadness expressions have been "cute" and become "lovable" little emotions.

There is no fixed correspondence between picture emoticons and text footnotes, and netizens can freely mark meanings and create emotions for emoticons.

The function of emoticons has been upgraded from a simple dialogue tool to a social media, and people gain entertainment pleasure and interactive fun in free sharing.

There are so many materials available for emoticons. Why do cartoon faces, animal faces, and children’s faces appear most frequently?

Because I usually don't say things that I don't want to say, I don't dare to express my emotions. With the "Tong Yan Wuji" emoji, I can easily spit it out. Even if it's wrong, it's the emoji's fault.

  Cute emojis often "cute" negative emotions and attitudes and turn them into pleasant emotional experiences.

Unlike this clear stream, who also faced the pressure of life and was passive and helpless, the "Bi Miser" emoji showed a life attitude of accepting reality and self-deprecating.

Taking "Ge Youlie" and "Buddhist Youth" as the source, from panda head to sad frog, from "salted fish" to "rotten", these emojis even deliberately choose low-pixel pictures to flaunt indifferent attitudes.

If the interlocutor uses "the clown is me" when describing his plight and helplessness, and the other party happens to understand this "stalk", this self-evident tacit understanding does make the emoji very "superior" to use. .

  The original function of emoticons was to compensate for the lack of online social and emotional expression. Now netizens weave collective emotions and psychology into emoticons.

Emoji can be used as a "safety mask" to cover up the true self, and it can also be a place to express one's heart.

People laugh at themselves with the emojis of "single dog" and "tired dog", exaggerating their weaknesses and "cute" or "miserable", so that every ordinary and weak person who has encountered setbacks in reality has empathy, which is emoji socialization. Characteristics.

However, expressive emojis can't fundamentally solve the problem. "Being cute" or "being miserable" can be a small social skill, but it cannot be used as a general direction of values.

If you are addicted to social networking again, fleeing and avoiding the real world and social relations in the name of "social terrorism", it is even more unwise, and it is also not the original intention of making and disseminating such expression packs.

  The popularity of popular emojis is mostly related to the spread of empathy.

When people see crying expressions on the screen, similar emotional experiences will be activated in their brains. Even if the user is not necessarily sad at the time, but seeing the "crying" symbol, he will adjust his facial expression, which is empathy.

Empathy is the foundation of building relationships.

Emoji, or memes, are creating a new pattern of brain activity for people.

When people have a conversation, they will subconsciously imitate each other's expressions and emotions. This kind of emotional contagion is difficult to find in real communication.

Before the advent of emojis and memes, empathy was almost impossible to communicate online.

The popularity of popular emojis can be said to be the result of the spread of empathy.

They first spread in a certain circle or community, and then form a wider and more lasting emotional radiation and cultural identity.

The development of the media continues to break through the limitations of the human body, and at the same time, people will miss face-to-face communication.

  The body is the material carrier of emotions and thoughts.

Since the development of media, from printing, telegraph, telephone, to Internet digital media, artificial intelligence, etc., while transcending the limitations of the body and gaining new development in communication, they also long for the return of the body.

Body communication has a certain ritual significance that cannot be replaced by media, which is nostalgic.

The presence of the body represents kindness, and it proves that I am willing to be with you at this moment and share my time with you. This is an emotional giving and expression, expressed and perceived through face-to-face communication.

Therefore, in all stages of communication development, media technology should not only transcend the biological body and physical time and space to achieve wider and more free communication, but also constantly pursue the real experience of face-to-face communication.

  In the conception of future social scenarios, the compensation for the absence of the body is no longer a partial simulation and extension of the body's senses, but a mediated body embedded in technology, a technical body reconstructed by data and algorithms.

"The medium is an extension of man" will develop into "man is an extension of the medium".

The technology-embedded digital body is expected to become the portal connecting the virtual and the real. It is not only the material subject of cognition, experience, emotion and mind, but also the virtual identity of games and social interaction in the virtual world.

Under the existing technology trends, a bolder vision is that the digital body will transcend the limitations of the human body, create ideal relationships and digital interactions that meet the needs of the self, and continuously shape the scene through body data.

It can even be created and recreated regardless of the basis of reality, and dreams that are difficult to achieve in reality can be realized with the help of the consciousness and mind of the digital body.

The digital body experiences a real time-changing life in mixed reality, transcending the limited self and exploring the infinite spiritual world.

  Looking back, although emoticons are also a product of the development of media technology, their technical content is not high.

Technology is an important factor that drives or hinders the socialization of emoji.

On the one hand, it is difficult for symbols to represent the richness of human emotions and changes.

When encoding meaning, it is difficult for a single emoticon to form a coherent and complete emotion. Even if many emoticons are made according to themes and series, it is difficult to fully cover people's complex and delicate feelings.

In the process of receiving and decoding, if the emoticon package does not fit well with the communication situation and mood, the effect of emotional communication will not be achieved.

On the other hand, people's social dependence on emoticons precisely reflects the limitations of current media technology development and social applications.

Taking WeChat as an example, WeChat was originally a "strong relationship" type of social networking for acquaintances. With the continuous growth of the address book list, it generalized into a "weak relationship" type of social connection. In order to cope with full-time online communication and maintain an online connection state, people often Had to send memes continuously, or just memes.

To cope with the "social media burnout" caused by extensive connections, the information exchange and emotional expression functions of the emoticons are weakened, and sometimes people send memes just to maintain a conversation.

  Looking back at the history of technological evolution from 1G to 4G, from voice, text, image to video, communication methods have been continuously enriched, but the effect of interaction has not been fundamentally breakthrough, and it is still limited to two-dimensional experience.

The expression pack preserves expressions and extends emotional expression, and it does not break through the model of segmentation and simulation of body senses.

And the extension of sensory ability that strips away the integrity of the body may lead to the weakening of people as the main body of communication.

Under the existing technical conditions, the emoticon package application is still easy to use and meets the daily social network.

However, in the virtual social stage, emoticons are limited by communication technology, and it is difficult to provide users with an immersive and interactive virtual reality social experience.

However, in terms of culture and technology, to explore the expression and experience of true feelings, emoji socialization is consistent with future digital communication.

In a sense, calling the body to return to the scene of communication is also cherishing the true self of human beings.

(Author: Zhao Lijin, professor at the School of Media and Communication, Northwest Normal University, this article is a phased achievement of the National Social Science Fund Project "Research on the Intelligent Innovation and Social Impact of Network Literature and Art Driven by Algorithms" [21BZW057])

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