Are we entering the New Age Of Hieroglyphics? What do I mean, you might well ask. Well, do you think our “written” language is in the process of becoming a hybrid communication system, in which words and images converge?
More specifically, do you know about “emojis?”
It’s an app that lets you add teeny pictures to everything you write on your phone. I’ve seen people comment in various places using only emojis. By the way, the Vanity Fair article where I found that graphic is really funny.
Emojis are the extreme form of the New Hieroglyphic. But elsewhere in the electronic universe, we see other stirrings. Twitter, King of 140-Letter and Number Sayings, has begun to show images inline, vs. via links only, and offer rich detail via Twitter Cards.
Facebook is perhaps the Empress of Postcarded Sayings. You can even make these Quote Postcards online, if you don’t want to bother with Photoshop et alia. Hold that thought.
On Pinterest, Queen of Pretty Pictures, you’ll see pins that overlay text, rather than relying on unincorporated text boxes. This is by A Practical Wedding.
Apparently the same is true of Instagram, but I confess to following only a few people.
We may not care about social media, or the Internet, very much. That is our right. But I still wonder about symbolic systems. If words come to require an associated image, and certain images even replace words, what does that mean for our shared understanding of the world, for the value of nuanced verbal analysis? I may have a dog in this hunt. I can’t consume images in bulk, the rush of visual information stuns and bewilders me. I am perhaps in the minority.
To be sure, this is not new. Pictures>1000 words, and so on. Print media has always used graphics. We’ve had emoticons for what feels like a. very. long. time. But we might be on the verge of a step-function change, in which word+picture units become both richer and more formalized.
If so, here’s how the current Internet goings-on will contribute.
- Electronic (I love to use the old-fashioned word here) multi-media communication platforms succeed in part by simplifying the creation process into a few steps. This makes it quicker and easier to say/portray what we want to get across, but nudges all our communication objects into a more-or-less single format.
- The “feed” or “stream” concept requires information we can consume quickly. Image+picture all in one place may be the single biggest neuron impact for our cognitive buck.
Via Quozio, and me.
Have a wonderful weekend. It goes without saying that in the physical world we overlay images and text with a single, fleeting, no-effort thought.