Encyclopedia Britannica defines “Hieroglyphic writing is a system that employs characters in the form of pictures. Those individual signs, called hieroglyphs, may be read either as pictures, as symbols for pictures, or as symbols for sounds.”
As far back as recorded history goes, humans have used written symbols to communicate. Time brought sophistication, and the written word has morphed, including how it is received through modern technology.
`Today we often use emojis, GIFs, and acronyms to communicate, bringing two long-term `questions to my mind. First, how will our descendants translate our communication? And second, is evolution regressing through technology?
As part of Generation X, I like to use emojis for fun and am not nearly as proficient as some of my younger friends. For example, one time, I was trying to tell a millennial friend by text that I was hurrying to get to our meeting. I thought it would be super savvy and get me in with the Yoots if I used the car emoji plus the wind emoji, which in my mind translated to “I’ll be there in a hurry.” My millennial friend texted back, “Do you have car trouble?” When I responded, “No,” she asked, “Then why is your car, farting?” Facepalm. Complete miss.
Imagine in 100 years from now, if historians go through our texts to get a flash of life in 2020. The heavily used poo emoji is sure to be a controversial symbol. Are academics in 2120 going to compose a thesis’ on the gut health, nutrition, and bathroom habits of 2020 culture since our communication is so full of the turds? Will they assume something caused constipation? Or diarrhea? And when they learn of the great 2020 toilet paper crisis, surely it will conclude that GI health in 2020 was awry for some reason.
And what about WTF, OMG, and filing the TPS Reports. Especially in my professional life, there are numerous acronyms to keep track of that make me feel old and in need of a life manual. But I bet a few remember XYZPDQ.
And lastly, the GIF. The grossly overused, especially on Middleburg Uncensored, GIF of Michael Jackson eating popcorn will undoubtedly make future historians scratch their heads at the importance of that image.
I’d love to be a fly on the wall in 2120 when time capsules are open, and they are full of sh!t.