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SXSW Interactive 2016

The secret life of emojis: are words under attack?

Words are expressive, evocative and essential. Words let us declare our feelings and form relationships. But our language is being invaded. Intruders have appeared, wedging their way into our sentences and harshly punctuating eloquent prose. The intruders are little yellow faces, smiling turds, and sassy girls in pink. The English language is changing as a consequence and the results are fascinating. At SXSW I’ll explore the emoji invasion in four ways:
1) Brands using emoji, 2) How different cultures “speak emoji” differently (based on my own research), 3) How emojis break free of intended meanings to take on a life of their own, and 4) How emoji-swapping can alter meaning instantly.

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  1. Why do young people find it easier to communicate through emoji than with words?
  2. How should brands use emoji to reach their audiences?
  3. Why is the sassy pink girl the most versatile emoji, and how many different meanings can she have? (Hint: it’s at least 5)



Bizhan Govindji, Digital Strategist, Ogilvy London

Meta Information:

  • Tags: emoji, language, millennials
  • Event: Interactive
  • Format: Solo
  • Track: Art, Science and Inspiration
  • Level: Intermediate
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