Google’s 18-Month Quest To Redesign Its Terrible Emoji

 

“It’s a communication issue,” says Rachel Been, Creative Director on Google’s Material Design. “If I sent my friend the dancing woman on iOS, and I’m on an Android device and I see a blob, there’s a miscommunication.” And now, thanks be to Google, that miscommunication is being fixed. “We’re doing a full redesign of the emoji set,” says Gus Fonts, Product Manager, Android. “We took a look at many things, but mostly the thing that’s most striking is, perhaps, that yes, the candy dots or blobs, are now substituted with a set of squishy circles–for a lot of good reasons.”

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Emoji diversity: how ‘silly little faces’ can make a big difference

 

When Emojipedia founder Jeremy Burge sent his fiancee to the wrong side of London for dinner, he sent an apologetic text message. He received an emoji-less reply: “It’s fine.” “We all know that’s not what it means at all. That means ‘it’s not fine’,” he said, pointing out that emoji have infiltrated language so deeply that their absence from that message carries a meaning that we all understand. Once considered a nerd topic, emoji have now become a mainstream medium, Burge says – and San Francisco’s first Emojicon conference seems to agree.

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Slang: the changing face of cool

 

In March 1984, the Guardian’s Washington correspondent, Alex Brummer, reported that the word yuppie was one of “America’s hottest new status descriptions”. (The other he mentioned, yummie – “young upwardly mobile moderate” – seems to have died an early death.) The same year also saw the publication of Marissa Piesman and Marilee Hartley’s tongue-in-cheek work The Yuppie Handbook: The State-of-the-Art Manual for Young Urban Professionals, with its cover showing a power-suited couple proudly sporting must-have items such as a Rolex watch, a Gucci briefcase and a Sony Walkman. Newsweek rounded off December with a cover feature declaring 1984 “the year of the yuppie”. Yet no one from the streets would have come up with a term based on the words “young urban professional” – it smacked of advertising speak. Far more authentic, and of similar vintage, was the mocking English acronym “lombard” – loads of money but a right dickhead. In today’s online information blizzard, billions of words are sent out into the fray in the hope of causing a Twitter storm, trending on Facebook or gaining countless plays on YouTube, alongside tap-dancing kittens and the latest celebrity wardrobe malfunction. In recent years, the move towards new slang being invented simply in order sell something or identify a target audience has greatly accelerated. Professional trend forecasters K-Hole – whose name is street slang for an after-effect of ketamine use – coined the term “normcore” in 2013, in which being “normal” is a supposedly radical lifestyle choice. At this year’s Social Media Week gathering in London, the ad for one event urged delegates to “put on your marketing seatbelt and get ready for a content marketing riff-a-palooza of actionable takeaways” – which sounds vaguely as if it might involve suing your local fast-food outlet – while another claimed to have identified a new target audience, the “mipster”, or Muslim hipster.

Read the full story here

Slang: the changing face of cool

 

In March 1984, the Guardian’s Washington correspondent, Alex Brummer, reported that the word yuppie was one of “America’s hottest new status descriptions”. (The other he mentioned, yummie – “young upwardly mobile moderate” – seems to have died an early death.) The same year also saw the publication of Marissa Piesman and Marilee Hartley’s tongue-in-cheek work The Yuppie Handbook: The State-of-the-Art Manual for Young Urban Professionals, with its cover showing a power-suited couple proudly sporting must-have items such as a Rolex watch, a Gucci briefcase and a Sony Walkman. Newsweek rounded off December with a cover feature declaring 1984 “the year of the yuppie”. Yet no one from the streets would have come up with a term based on the words “young urban professional” – it smacked of advertising speak. Far more authentic, and of similar vintage, was the mocking English acronym “lombard” – loads of money but a right dickhead. In today’s online information blizzard, billions of words are sent out into the fray in the hope of causing a Twitter storm, trending on Facebook or gaining countless plays on YouTube, alongside tap-dancing kittens and the latest celebrity wardrobe malfunction. In recent years, the move towards new slang being invented simply in order sell something or identify a target audience has greatly accelerated. Professional trend forecasters K-Hole – whose name is street slang for an after-effect of ketamine use – coined the term “normcore” in 2013, in which being “normal” is a supposedly radical lifestyle choice. At this year’s Social Media Week gathering in London, the ad for one event urged delegates to “put on your marketing seatbelt and get ready for a content marketing riff-a-palooza of actionable takeaways” – which sounds vaguely as if it might involve suing your local fast-food outlet – while another claimed to have identified a new target audience, the “mipster”, or Muslim hipster.

Read the full story here

Emoji diversity: how ‘silly little faces’ can make a big difference

When Emojipedia founder Jeremy Burge sent his fiancee to the wrong side of London for dinner, he sent an apologetic text message. He received an emoji-less reply: “It’s fine.” “We all know that’s not what it means at all. That means ‘it’s not fine’,” he said, pointing out that emoji have infiltrated language so deeply that their absence from that message carries a meaning that we all understand. Once considered a nerd topic, emoji have now become a mainstream medium, Burge says – and San Francisco’s first Emojicon conference seems to agree.

Read the full story here

Slang: the changing face of cool

 

In March 1984, the Guardian’s Washington correspondent, Alex Brummer, reported that the word yuppie was one of “America’s hottest new status descriptions”. (The other he mentioned, yummie – “young upwardly mobile moderate” – seems to have died an early death.) The same year also saw the publication of Marissa Piesman and Marilee Hartley’s tongue-in-cheek work The Yuppie Handbook: The State-of-the-Art Manual for Young Urban Professionals, with its cover showing a power-suited couple proudly sporting must-have items such as a Rolex watch, a Gucci briefcase and a Sony Walkman. Newsweek rounded off December with a cover feature declaring 1984 “the year of the yuppie”. Yet no one from the streets would have come up with a term based on the words “young urban professional” – it smacked of advertising speak. Far more authentic, and of similar vintage, was the mocking English acronym “lombard” – loads of money but a right dickhead. In today’s online information blizzard, billions of words are sent out into the fray in the hope of causing a Twitter storm, trending on Facebook or gaining countless plays on YouTube, alongside tap-dancing kittens and the latest celebrity wardrobe malfunction. In recent years, the move towards new slang being invented simply in order sell something or identify a target audience has greatly accelerated. Professional trend forecasters K-Hole – whose name is street slang for an after-effect of ketamine use – coined the term “normcore” in 2013, in which being “normal” is a supposedly radical lifestyle choice. At this year’s Social Media Week gathering in London, the ad for one event urged delegates to “put on your marketing seatbelt and get ready for a content marketing riff-a-palooza of actionable takeaways” – which sounds vaguely as if it might involve suing your local fast-food outlet – while another claimed to have identified a new target audience, the “mipster”, or Muslim hipster.

Read the full story here

How to write the shortest joke in the world

A deer

Quite an interesting article here on how to write short jokes, which should also be of use to writers, especially advertising copywriters.

It begins by suggesting that one of the funniest and shortest jokes is Jimmy Carr’s ‘venison’s dear, isn’t it?’.

Micro-gags like Carr’s also illustrate a central tenet of classical joke craft: for some jokes to work, the teller must remove certain details from the transmission. In the joke above, the spoken information is just four words: (1) venison’s (2) dear (3) isn’t (4) it. Everything else, everything that makes the joke a joke – “venison meat comes from deer, and is also quite expensive, so you could say that deer is dear” – is carefully omitted. This extra information is called the exformation – deliberately discarded, but semantically essential detail. Carr’s joke simply wouldn’t work if all the exformation was included with the transmitted information. But why?

By whittling away the joke to its leanest form and leaving the rest implied through exformation, Carr invites the audience to connect up the dots. Our servile brains jump at the chance to fill in the blanks – automatically and with synaptic haste – and it’s this that makes us laugh. I’m not sure that we have the philosophical or scientific tools to understand exactly why this is, but it probably comes down to an atavistic pleasure mechanism where our neural circuitry is rewarded for empathic behaviour. In other words, the laughter is your brain patting itself on the back for catching Carr’s drift. What could be more social, more communal and more team-building than reading another’s thoughts and understanding more or less what they mean? Certainly, pseudo-mindreading like this would have been evolutionarily advantageous for our ancestors waging war with elemental beasts out there on the pre-metropolitan plains.

Read the full article here

Gobbledegook

Door

Actual text from an email I received today:

‘The past five years has witnessed a massive transformation of the market for horizontal portals. The nexus of mobile, social, cloud and information has at once heightened the demand for this “personalized point of access …” and engendered alternative ways to accomplish it.’

Translation, anyone? Are they selling doors?

How a ‘typo’ nearly derailed the Paris climate deal

climateTalkes.jpg

If ever you need a story to back up your advice to students to get someone to proof their work before they submit it, here it is… (my emphasis)

It soon became clear that something had gone very wrong in the text. Rumours swirled, and it was later confirmed by US secretary of state, John Kerry, that the US had objected to Article 4.4 on page 21 of the 31-page final agreement. US government lawyers had found, it was said to their horror, that they had unwittingly approved a vital word which could make the difference between rich countries being legally obliged to cut emissions rather than just having to try to: “shall” rather than “should”.

Here is global law firm Norton Rose Fulbright on the significance of the two words: This article requires developed countries to undertake economy-wide absolute emission reduction targets but developing countries to only “continue to enhance” their mitigation efforts. In the draft that was presented for adoption there were two critical words – “shall” and “should”. The expression “shall” applied to the developed countries’ obligation and the word “should” applied to the developing countries’ obligation. There was a crisis.

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Science has spoken: ending a text with a full stop makes you a monster

Ending your text messages with a full stop, science has confirmed, is against God and against nature. A Binghamton University research team found that text messages ending in the most final of punctuation marks – eg “lol.”, “let’s go to Nando’s.”, “send nudes.” – are perceived as being less sincere

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