Re: Emoji: emoticons vs. literacy

From: James Kass (
Date: Mon Jan 05 2009 - 11:16:36 CST

  • Next message: Asmus Freytag: "Re: Emoji: emoticons vs. literacy"

    Asmus Freytag wrote,

    > Telephone text messages are not a closed system, because telecoms
    > typically provide means to connect to incoming and outgoing email at the
    > minimum.

    E-mail can be plain-text or rich-text. There has
    never been any requirement that all the information
    contained within a rich-text document will be
    round-trippable with a plain-text application.

    > You can expect these codes to leak onto the web in due course,
    > if this is not happening already. Whatever the mechanism for that
    > leakage, what Peter is rightly objecting to is a world where text in
    > open interchange needlessly contains units that are un-interpretable.
    > It doesn't matter whether one or two vendors are causing this - as long
    > as their system isn't *closed*, it's not true private interchange.

    Suppose for a moment that you and I are sociable
    Japanese schoolgirls who use the emoji pictographs
    to spice up our text messages. In response to your
    latest text message, I send:

         That's really a bummer ☠ 'cuz it makes
         me so sad ☹ Ciao fer now <picture of
         a hamburger>

    There's an understanding between us that when the
    hamburger icon appears in a message, it means that
    you tell your parents you are spending the week-end
    at my place, and I tell my parents I'm spending it
    with you, but we are secretly meeting at Beth's to
    study and do homework.

    Since we're both young and carefree, we don't worry
    about whether or not future historians can access
    that hamburger. If it did enter our pretty little heads
    to worry about it, we'd quickly realize that future
    historians couldn't possibly have a clue about our
    special interpretion anyway. It doesn't matter if
    the hamburger survives the millenia, the semantic is
    long gone.

    Instead, we worry about Truly Important Issues, such
    as what on Earth Sheila did to her hair OMG and to
    wonder if it is *really* true Frieda allowed that boy to
    carry her books.

    We should be asking ourselves who is intercepting our
    private text messages and who is presumptuous enough
    to violate our privacy by putting them anywhere
    public enough to cause them to infiltrate databases
    somewhere. We should be asking ourselves where
    any company gets off thinking it can keep copies
    of our private communications, for the benefit of
    future historians or not.

    Text messages sent between cell phone users aren't
    any concern of Unicoders or search engines. Or
    anybody else, for that matter.

    The private nature of these messages fits very well
    within the framework of PUA.

    Best regards,

    James Kass

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