The rise & domination of electronic communication in the last two decades has transformed the way we express ourselves.
This increase in non-verbal communication creates issues. When we speak orally, there are many clues in tone that change the meaning of the words. But when writing a message, our words can be open to misinterpretation. So we use emojis such as a smiley face to indicate a jibe is meant in good fun.
Twitter has started us using hashtags when making a comment. This is so a topic can trend, but we’ve organically started using it in a different way.
This famous Jimmy Fallon/Justin Timberlake sketch portrays it perfectly:
The absurdity is clear. But lately I’ve noticed a weird trend of my own – I’m hashtagging a lot. I do it when commenting on people’s posts, in text messages, and even when talking.
At first I thought I was just being ironic, but it’s happening too often for that.
In our world where there is so much to consume and discover, we love things to be bite-size. That way we can achieve quickly.
So rather than needing to form real sentences or communicate ideas in detail, we substitute it with a hashtag. Sometimes even just an emoji. It helps to quickly indicate an idea or joke.
Here’s the thing that might surprise you – hashtags and emojis aren’t necessarily a bad thing for language.
Language evolves. How we use a word may be different from its origins. Most linguists don’t have a problem with this.
Similarly, how we talk to each other can be part of that evolution.
Do I want everyone talking to each other with constant hashtags & emojis? No way, we at Awkward Silence prefer to have longer deeper conversations.
But thinking of this new language of hashtags & emojis as a new dialect is perfectly acceptable. And it is the most noticeable advance in 21st century language.
If you aren’t listening, the conversation doesn’t evolve. It’s just two people saying things they each already know at each other.
Some things are good for us to hear, even if they are things we already know.
Martin Pistorius was diagnosed as being brain dead. Yet he was conscious, alert, and could see & hear everything that was happening around him. No one realised for 11 years.