Subversive Emoticon Branding

Saturday, March 16th, 2013

Today I had a cool conspiracy-theory-esque idea about Android’s subversive emoticon branding. It was spurred by my friend Lee saying how the nosed Android emoticons made her feel as though she was “born before 1980.”

I think The sentiment of Android seeming “behind-the-times” due to this particular configuration of emoticon is valid, despite how trivial it may seem to compare the aesthetic of nose-vs.-non-nose emoticons. Why, though? Is it dated because it strays from the norm? Is it dated because it calls for more characters than average amidst our present spirit of brevity? If you think about it, the nose does nothing to convey emotion in this particular formula of emoticon – it is consistently a hyphen (whereas, for example the mouth can be either side of the bracket, an S, a D, a P, or an O). If any set of Android emoticons are to derive a lowest common denominator, the nose is to be eliminated, invariably.

So why the nose, then? The thought that crossed my mind is that in text-based conversation, the nose immediately distinguishes Android users. This form of distinction is novel to me because I’ve never encountered or considered textual formation as an extension of a company’s brand. For anyone who wants to counter me with “typography,” I say no, it’s not the same. Typography is different because of its mutability – very often typography becomes skewed, replaced, transformed, if not entirely encrypted, as it is passed between cites and programs. The emoticon, being a series of universal symbols, is a much more resilient form of textual aesthetic.

So, my original reaction was to think that Android had coded its system of emoticons to intentionally “mark” its users and perpetuate a sense of Android-presence. Now I’m feeling like this notion may be slightly far-fetched. But regardless of intent, the potential for brand dissemination is totally here. I like the idea of code as brand. I like the idea of a brand manifesting itself through an unspoken, non-physical undercurrent. I like the idea of a quietly powerful emoticon nose bringing the medium by which it has been shared instantly to our minds.

πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

For those interested in reading more about emoticons:

Tom McCormack’s Emoticon, Emoji, Text: Pt. 1, I Second that Emoticon

Jussi Parikka’s Emoticon, 1881Β 

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One comment on “Subversive Emoticon Branding

  1. I’m amazed, I must say. Rarely do I encounter a blog that’s both educative
    and engaging, and let me tell you, you’ve hit the nail on the head.
    The problem is something which not enough folks are speaking intelligently about.

    I’m very happy I came across this in my hunt for something
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