A lei dos rendimentos decrescentes dos “emoticons” e o fator “neurocultural”

Eis uma notícia que me trouxe uma informação nova: o autor do primeiro “emoticon” é um sujeito cuja identidade se conhece.

Smilies are so 1990s. Emoticons have evolved to another level in Taiwan after users started making their own animated GIF files and swapping them through chat programs such as the popular MSN Messenger.

Emoticons have an extra twist in this country — instead of a parenthetical aside, emoticons are now replacing Chinese characters as a part of the sentence.

And while Chinese language academics see this trend, along with the “martian language” (火星文) phenomenon — in which letters and numbers are used to create the sounds of words — as another sign of the fallen state of the Chinese language among the young, users can’t seem to get enough of the elaborate emoticons for every occasion.

Indeed, it’s been more than 25 years since US computer scientist Scott Elliot Fahlman came up with the idea of stringing together a colon, a dash and a parenthesis sign to make a “smiley face.”

According to Fahlman’s original post on the Carnegie Mellon online bulletin board on Sept. 19, 1982, he thought the sequence of characters could function as a “joke marker” for online conversations that get too heated.

“Read it sideways,” advised Fahlman in the original post, retrieved after a massive verification effort digging through old archives.

A notícia prossegue citando o novo “onionhead”.

When Annie types the Chinese character for “no” her friends see a GIF animation of a man shaking his head.

Each sentence she types in IM might automatically bring up three or four such “picture language” icons.

“Friends have complained that I use too many icons when I chat on MSN,” Annie said. “However, I don’t think it’s that hard to guess what I’m saying given the context. If they still can’t figure it out, they can always right click to find out what the picture is meant to say.”

“That’s exactly what I find the most obnoxious about picture language users,” Nokimi said. “Their desire to try something novel wastes my time.”

O quanto e como passar uma informação, em uma conversa de “chat” é uma decisão individual, claro. Mas há que se lembrar do óbvio: exagero pode causar mais danos do que benefícios. O legal é saber que o tal Fahlman é quem começou tudo.

Ah sim, há uma notícia sobre a diferença de “emoticons” no Japão e no Ocidente, neste blog (originalmente, aqui). Um trecho:

Across two studies, using computerized icons and human images, the researchers compared how Japanese and American cultures interpreted images, which conveyed a range of emotions.

“These findings go against the popular theory that the facial expressions of basic emotions can be universally recognized,” said University of Alberta researcher Dr. Takahiko Masuda. “A person’s culture plays a very strong role in determining how they will perceive emotions and needs to be considered when interpreting facial expression”

Para mim, a pergunta interessante é: o que, no cérebro, faz com que esta “cultura” sobre percepções de linguagem corporal, seja diferente entre os povos.