not yet emoticons

not yet emoticons (very) rough

I've got a new project in the pipeline. If you have any ideas for it or you'd like to join in, you'd be most welcome.

Over the end of 2009 and first half of 2010, we were doing a few things at work to do with feelings and emoticons, including this. It went really well, but for me there was an itch at the end of it which I wasn't sure how to scratch.

Then, while reading The Pleasures and Sorrows of Work in the autumn, I figured it out. I should really have dug the quote out for this blog post, but there's a bit in the book about there being a professional language for certain careers, sort of like a geometry; a system of signs for things that would never be needed by anyone in other walks of life.

And that took me back to emoticons. There are so many of them, but whether you have 70-odd icons in MSN Messenger (and let's face it, most of those don't deserve the emoti- prefix) or the15 basic ones we used for ChildLine, they all seem to be about degrees of expression for about four or five actual feelings.

Which is really, really interesting to me.

We've got this hieroglyphic-style language for wink-wink, pint of beer and dogface. People are adding emotisounds and animated icons all the time. But they all seem to be falling into the same few categories of feeling. Why don't we have emoticons for the more complex, slightly weirder and nuanced, but still universal human emotions?

Like, why isn't there an emoticon for schadenfreude?

Or that vibe you get when there's no decent films left to rent on iTunes or Blinkbox?

That's what this project is all about. I'll be taking feelings like these and turning them into emoticons. I haven't worked it all out yet. The production end of things is a bit rough around the edges. But I'm going to get a number of these things made, with some help from a friend or two and some learning of my own.

I'm going to aim for 20 to start off with. If you'd like to join in, send an email to the usual address or leave me a comment below. As soon as I've got a few details ironed out I'll let you know.

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