On the Topic of Emojis

It seems our module has really taken a shining to this topic. From Andrew Wiggins’ post (which I believe to be the first on this, correct me if I’m wrong) to the most recent presentations with Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen being converted to Emoji by Aisling Kilcawley. It’s pretty apparent this topic really brought some emotes to our group 😉 .

While it’s pretty much old news by this stage and no longer a hot topic of debate, I thought I’d close this blog (well, the necessary posts for this semester) out with the topic that so many of us started off with.

So, we all know what emojis are and there general usage is to make some feel an “emot”-ion from viewing them. What I’m here to introduce to us all today is the various and cultural differences emojis have around the world. We all know the general smilies and emoticons we see on Android or Iphone everyday. (Little picturing listing them below)

all-emoji.png

But did you know in Japan there exists a huge variant to emojis, the kaomoji. They’re slightly more complex than ours (they require 2bits where our emojis only use one and can not be replicated by an English keyboard.) An example : (。=◕‿‿◕=。)

kaomoji

These kaomoji are understandable without the necessity to tilt your head. (for example : =) and ( ^∇^) ). Both represent a happy emotion, but the kaomoji is clearly this without having to tilt your head (though nowadays, applications will often correct emojis to pictures.)

Then this type of kaomoji developed into a western style. This is when kaomoji is replicated on western keyboards. (<(o_o<)) Though, not many kaomoji are imitable.

Beyond Kaomoji from Japan, Korea also have a variant to our standard emojis by using Korean Hangul letters. They’re called Jamo emojis as jamo is the korean word for letter. An example is : ㅠㅠ which represents a crying face.

Eventually the styles of emoji and then there imitations lead to the creation of 2channel style emojis. Essentially, the internet as a culture created their own variant of emojis.Originally appearing on the internet forum board 4chan it combined many different languages (such as Kannada) to create an even greater variety of emoji to be used. An example of a 2channel style emoji would be : ಠ_ಠ which is supposed to appear as a disapproving look.

To me, seeing the vast variety and cultural differences of emoji from around the globe really makes me believe emojis are a new way in which we express ourselves. I don’t believe it possibly to see quite so many variations and nuances from culture to culture if they were not important to us as individual beings. Personally, I like to try replicate kaomoji with my western keyboard. I do this I believe because I’m showing both that I have an interest in the Japanese culture while also noting I’m from a western society.

Perhaps I’m looking at this too philosophically but I do honestly believe there is a tie in with culture, our own personal passions and the emoji. What do you believe? Does it have something to do with cultures wanting to express themselves through 1 or 2 bit expressions? Leave a comment to discuss! Until next time, this stream is going offline and in case I do not write again until after the holidays, Merry Christmas everyone!
References:
To generate Kaomoji’s I use http://japaneseemoticons.me/

 

 

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On the Topic of Emojis

On the Topic of Gamification

Gamification

I briefly touched on Gamification in my Gaming in Education post, however I feel that I did not quite give enough information on just what gamification is and how it is affecting our world and daily life.

So what exactly is Gamification anyway? Well according to Badgeville.com (a site which literally has it’s own gamification wiki), gamification is the concept of applying game mechanics and game design techniques to engage and motivate people to achieve their goals.

It works due to the human psyche wanting status, achievements and other works we have created to represent ourselves. Our natural drives for competition, achievement, status, altruism and community collaboration are exploited in a way by companies as we are naturally drawn to these times of games in our products. [1]

Gamification comes in many forms, from Subway cards (yes, you’re scoring a point every time you use a card and when you have enough points you get a free sandwich, sounds like a game to me at any rate) to Tesco clubcards (again every purchase you gain imaginary credits that you can later use) it’s evident that games aren’t just “Call of Duty” or “Halo” anymore, they’re everywhere. While mechanics of these games are a lot simpler than that of a modern video game, there is no doubting that both entities are entertaining and fun to use, classifying both as games.

It all started from the Frequent Flyer Programs (FFP) that airlines give out. Where again, the more you traveled, the more rewards you received varying from gifts to free flights. These were the earliest “games” that came to the real world and have since been adapted and used by companies everywhere to encourage more consumers to use their products.

Some more examples of gamification used by companies include Starbucks’ mobile loyalty app, “MyStarbucksRewards”. Besides Starbucks, Nike released the Nike+ app to encourage consumers to be active while also using Nike products. In a way, this gives Nike free advertising when people see a consumer doing sporting activity using their products.

But it’s not just these few companies that use gamification, in fact, Gamification can be applied to many facets of technology and has evolved in the recent years. Over 70% of Forbes Global 2000 companies surveyed in 2013 said they planned to use gamification for the purposes of marketing and customer retention [2].

I feel I might be scrutinizing gamification a little too much, while it is true that it is a ploy by some companies to enrich their businesses, it does have it’s benefits. If the games the companies such as Tesco, Subway, Aer Lingus, etc. were not fun to play we would have stopped long, long ago. Companies are genuinely trying to keep there “players” happy. If this is achieved, the customer is more likely to remain loyal, purchase from the same company and perhaps bring more eager “players” to the market.

I really do hope that this post was a little more in-depth and brought gamification in today’s world a little more into light than my last post. Thank you for reading! Until next time, this stream is going offline.

References:

[1] – Gamification Definition : https://badgeville.com/wiki/Gamification#garterere
[2] – Fitz-Walter, Z. A Brief History of Gamification. http://zefcan.com/2013/01/a-brief-history-of-gamification/

 

On the Topic of Gamification