As a society, we’ve reverted to hieroglyphics

3 mins read


There were several text messages on my phone when I got up this morning. They were part of a string of messages from my sisters. 

The first message had little emojis and keyboard characters like an asterisk, number sign and a percentage sign. The text message clearly indicated that my sister was irritated at her adult son. 

The emoji was the picture of a round head snarling followed by multiple number signs (#), dollar signs ($), and percentage signs (%). This was her form of swearing, which we were not allowed to do as children.

My older sister, being the English language expert in the family, corrected her by suggesting she just use the red round face with the character signs over the emoji’s lips. You could tell things were not going well when the younger sister sent her the emoji of the exploding head.

The experience with my sisters reminded me of an entire text conversation I had with my daughter one morning while visiting. She texted me pictures of pancakes and croissants with question marks. Clearly, she was asking what I wanted for breakfast. I texted her back a picture of a cup of coffee and bagel. She sent a text back with a happy face next to the coffee and a sad face next to the bagel. I sent her back a picture of the emoji with a tear drop. I do love my morning bagel.

Now I ask the question. When did we go back to cave man pictures and Egyptian hieroglyphics to communicate? 

Nobody writes out actual sentences anymore. There are so many different texts that I must decipher that I finally printed out the meaning of some of these symbols.

Oh, the little face blowing kisses, and the face with one tear drop, and the laughing head are very clear. But some of them escape me.

Fortunately, there is a Unicode out there that is helping to standardize some of these expressions. There are multiple categories like, smileys and people, animals and nature, food and drink, activity, travel and places, objects, character symbols and flags. You can get multiple sentences across without using one article.

In a way, I guess this new language is helpful to people who speak different languages. They can communicate with one another using the Unicode. Maybe that is what the caveman had in mind as he was drawing his stick people and animals. 

Could it be that as we get deeper into our emojis and character symbols, we might be able to decipher the meanings of both the caveman drawings and the hieroglyphics better. I do not know. But in the meantime, Happy Smiley Face!


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