To prove the dreamlike nature of reality, Oxford Dictionaries chose as their 2015 Word of the Year no word at all. Instead, the winner’s an emoji.
It makes me think about how we have to raise ourselves up and keep learning and developing our skills, despite the vapid illusions projected around us. I mean, it’s up to us to define life as meaningful and do our best to communicate authentically and learn from each other’s stories — even if the promoted view of reality drifts into laughably idiotic standards. (But I mean, it is good to laugh, so there’s that.)
Then again, it’s true that emojis are filling a role in communication that we didn’t have before, offering more of a chance to type out a bit of nonverbal information, like the gestures, inflections, and facial expressions shared in personal exchanges. I find myself using emojis more and more and see how they are becoming part of my lexicon, side by side with my regular vocabulary, and sometimes an emoji fits my intent much better than any word I can think of.
But then again, if I don’t type an emoji and try a little harder, I can often find a way to say it. That’s my main point, I guess. It’s surreal that Oxford Dictionaries chose the pictograph “Face with Tears of Joy” as the Word of the Year, but I can understand if I use generous reasoning. Yet even if they don’t promote strengthening our ability to articulate what we really mean, I still do.
It’s such a gift to hear what other people are thinking and what they have to say, and also to speak our own truths. I just think we’ll do better to focus on our powers of articulation than to rely too much on fuzzy, standardized placeholders for what we really would say if we tried.