The Internet can be a lonely place for those who prefer to communicate by writing.
We’ll spare logophiles the trauma of considering what texting has done to words – and we’re not going to debate whether video and images will replace language altogether. No, this humble scribe wishes only to comfort fellow wordsmiths (and really anyone who’s online a fair amount and wondering what the deal is) by saying, “It’s OK that everyone is using GIFs and emoji, and here’s how you can join the visual party.”
Coming to your emojional rescue
For starters, while emoji may come to populate every message we send one another, they’re not going to replace the written word anytime soon. Everyone can breathe.
Just as the green light tells us that it’s safe to drive through the intersection without a message board reading “You may continue forward progress now”, emoji serve as useful shorthand for communicating thoughts and feelings in rapid-fire exchanges. What’s more, since many of us work remotely, with minimal face-to-face contact, all those smiley icons are oddly humanizing.
Most devices come equipped to handle emoji. Visit your language and keyboard settings to activate emoji displays. In cases where an emoji keyboard isn’t already installed, the Apple Store, Google Play, and even browsers such as Google offer free tools to get started.
How quickly have GIFs taken over?
One startup in Beta, PopKey, is set to bring us the first animated GIF keyboard. Search through categorized or popular GIFs to send lively messages in just a few taps. If you’ve been a GIF voyeur, left out on the sidelines, this app will be a swift nudge straight into the middle of the fun.
Yet another Beta project, Blippy, (not to be mistaken for the doomed social network related to credit card purchases) is compiling a library of GIFs to use on iOS. This app also makes it easy for users to create and share their own customized GIFs. More laughing minions, please.
For those interested in tools at the ready for sharing images, have a look at Giphy and Imgur. Giphy has an extensive database of animated GIF files and plays nicely with Facebook and Twitter. Imgur has an active community commenting on its public gallery, and provides meme creating tools.
Of course, if you’re content to hang back and soak up the scene from the wings, you’ll have no trouble keeping amused. Check out the funniest GIFs of the week by Mandatory for your fix of cat shticks and other craziness.
Hey, if Shakespeare wasn’t above an occasional fart joke, no one is too good for a GIF laugh.