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Apple today announced the digital equivalent of a singing telegram, a perversion of the emoji concept that embodies the worst of both the company’s exclusionary philosophy and the worst of CG animals and excreta. Animoji are dumb and I loathe them. Here’s why.
Why have emoji become the lingua franca, nay even the interlingua, of the digital messaging world? It’s not because they’re so incredibly emotive. In fact, the clip art illustration style is almost aggressively bland. But it is that very blandness that gave them the power of versatility.
Lady - Someone - Information - Desk - Stare
The lady is meant to be someone sitting at an information desk. But her empty stare and flippant gesture could just as easily mean a hundred other things, from offering something to shrugging to asking “well?!” It’s up to the users to create the context to infuse emoji with meaning. Even specific faces and emotions depend heavily on how they’re used.
An 3D fox face making a grimace is just a 3D fox face making a grimace. There’s no subtext (except maybe Bradley Cooper), no creation, no interpretation. Just a fancy mask.
Thing - Apple - Pink - Coconut
But this only works when we’re all seeing the same thing. Apple doesn’t seem to care about that. Remember when they tried to kill the and turn it into like a weird pink coconut? I haven’t forgotten.
It’s only when we know exactly what the person on the other end will see that we can successfully give these symbols the meaning we intend. This is an imperfect situation, since cross-platform emoji can create problems, but because the Apple-adopted set has become the de facto standard, it’s often at least an option to use them. This creates a powerful and broad shared lexicon that behaves predictably on...
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