It’s a Text, Text, Text, Text World

So much emotion is lost in text. Tone of voice, gestures, facial expressions, body language, that quiver of excitement.

This poem called Indirect by BABYRUTHBEER caught my attention today:

To sigh after a long story,
or to gasp when you hear something silly;
Two of the wonders you can’t do
if online chat is what you’re into.

Looking at the person in the eye
is a cute act you can’t deny,
But that would lose its magic
even with Skype as your sidekick.

How about his expressions, real time?
And to hold his hands as a pastime?
Things that are stripped away from us;
That’s what online communication does.

Not to mention the words genuine and sincere.
Now, it will be hard to know if something’s real.

*Slightly adapted by me J

I think it’s fantastic that we can be connected by WhatsApp, Facebook and Skype. But text is flat, dead, and emotionless (unless you’re a great writer). We spit out instant messages in seconds, forgetting our commas, forgetting about how the tone of your message will come across.

Let's eat grandpa

This got me thinking – there are 100’s of “emoticons” in our chat tools, but which are the core universal emoticons for everyday usage? I found Psychologist Paul Ekman on Wikipedia, one of the most influential psychologists of the 20th century. He states that there are six basic emotions: anger, fear, disgust, happiness, sadness and surprise. These emotions are expressed by certain facial expressions that are universal in all cultures! That’s powerful. Six basic emotions universal in all cultures.

Of the 100’s of emoticons, or emoji, I was surprised to discover that some were easy to find, but others like disgust and surprise had me stumped for a while. Disgust was the hardest to find – the closest synonym match was “nauseate or sicken”.

So according to Paul Ekman and the Emojipedia, the following are our six basic emotions expressed in text:

emoji anger




You agree?

Whenever it’s possible, nothing beats picking up the phone and talking to somebody, or getting up and walking across the passage to quickly assist a colleague with a question. Go give somebody a hug!

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