A long time ago, back when text messaging was still new, conveying emotion was an awkward affair. We’ve all sent at least one sarcastic text that went misunderstood, and heaven forbid you ever forget to throw in a smiley face somewhere to show that you’re not angry (somehow, everything sounds more hostile in text).
And judging by the latest emoticon collections that’ve cropped up, we’ve come a long way from those awkward beginnings. I never thought I’d say this, but the day has come where text messaging boasts more options for self-expression than face-to-face conversation. Don’t believe me? Take a look at these inspired emojis:
As the name suggests, introjis are emoticons for introverts. Their designer, Rebecca Evie Lynch, claims that they’re to tell others when “you need time and space”. Right now, there’re more than 30 emojis in the series, mostly representing ‘alone’ activities such as reading or recharging.
As a self-proclaimed introvert, I find these truly awesome. They make it so much easier to indicate when I’m feeling drained from social activity (it’s much less offensive to hint to someone that you don’t want their company with an adorable emoji). The one I’m talking about is pictured below, and I’m honestly tempted to print it out so that I can stick it on my forehead when necessary:
See? There’re also ones which represent highly specific concepts like feeling lonely in a crowd, feeling happy alone in a crowd, and ‘I’m in a bubble’. Admittedly, each introji can probably be summarised in about five words, but the highlight for me is the cutesy graphics, which I think set the right tone, i.e., I’m not angry; I just need time alone.
If you’d like to see more introjis, Lynch is currently crowdsourcing for new suggestions on her page.
2. Video Emojis
Launched just last week, Smile is a messaging app which replaces emojis with short video clips that resemble GIFs. Through the app, you can record either your face or your surroundings as you input text, and the clip will accompany the message once it’s sent.
Smile is probably the closest that mobile text messaging has gotten to actual face-to-face communication so far. While it may be somewhat challenging if you’re camera-shy, or have a natural stoner face, it definitely goes a long way toward making messaging more personal. (The video plays on a loop, so it’s also useful if you’re really bad at analyzing people’s facial expressions.)
3. LGBT-themed Emojis
Late last year, Facebook released 20 LGBT-themed Pride Stickers, which can be used as emoticons. From married female couples with children to marchers in a pride parade, these dazzlingly rainbow-coloured emojis are designed to celebrate diversity, inclusiveness and acceptance.
Short of showing up to parties dressed in all the colours of the rainbow, there’s no faster way for you to proclaim your gender identity, your same-sex engagement, or your support of the LGBT community than with these emojis. While the whimsical decals do sometimes come across as frivolous, I think there’s something to be said for their cheeriness; they seem to express our hope for a truly inclusive society.
4. Culturally Diverse Emojis
The aim of iDiversicons is inclusiveness: racial, gender, social, and more. For its creator, Katrina Parrott, the inspiration came when her daughter asked her, “Why don’t emoticons look like the person sending them?” This made her start iDiversicons, an app featuring over 900 emojis that encompass a dizzying range of facial expressions, professions, skin colours and even dog breeds.
While this may seem like overkill — the ubiquitous yellow smiley face doesn’t actually look like anyone, after all — it is true that the effort to provide variety can result in a better appreciation of diversity for users, which is all for the better. If anything, those long, all-emoji conversations just got a lot more interesting.
5. Create Your Own Emojis
The Imoji app allows you to customize and create emojis from your own pictures, to better express your personal feelings.
The fact that it’s customizable means that it’s possible to build a whole private vocabulary. Celebrity that you like to make fun of with your friends? A favourite restaurant which invokes sentimental memories? As long as you have a picture, all of those can become emojis. It’s like a custom-built storage for all your inside jokes and longstanding arguments.