The Emojis We Need Today

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There’s a lot of turmoil and confusion in the world these days, and some things we hold dear are changing. I’m talking, of course, about emojis, the small images people insert into their digital messages to express emotions. They’ve been an important part of digital communication since 1999, but something has changed over the last couple of years. Several of the most popular emojis, like the heart and clapping hands, for instance, are now considered outdated. Some, like the thumbs up, are even considered passive-aggressive, if not outright hostile. This sea change has mainly been driven by Generation Z, the newest cohort to reach adulthood. They are turning to different emojis to express their emotions, such as the skull emoji, which is now used to express laughter (because a joke ‘killed’).

I get it. Change, particularly in the chaotic zeitgeist of the 21st century, is inevitable. I’ve actually been thinking about emojis myself recently. I spend the bulk of my life in front of a computer screen and use them daily in everything from emails to text messages and social media. My problem is that ‘OG’ emojis can’t adequately express the strangeness of this era and the intensity of my feelings. That’s why I’m excited to announce that Samalot Media has developed its own line of emojis in partnership with web developer extraordinaire Rachelle Wise. The new Muppets of Dystopia emojis will be available to the public soon. In the meantime, here’s a sneak peek at a few of the prototypes.

When you encounter a situation or behavior that is SO INFURIATING you find yourself unable to react coherently, you can instead use the Chaos Animal emoji. It tells the world, “I literally have NO WORDS!” If you’re like me and you spend a lot of time looking at the latest headlines, you’ll be using this emoji a lot.

So many aspects of the world seem backward and nonsensical right now, which makes life feel very unpredictable. Research says this is causing our amygdalas (aka the lizard part of our brains) to think we’re constantly under attack, which is, of course, very stressful. It’s so stressful that dentists have reported an “alarming increase” in teeth grinding among their patients. So, yeah. Many terrible things have been unleashed in the world. They seem to be increasing daily, AND they’re ruining everyone’s molars. Even worse, we don’t know when they’re going to end, or how it’s all going to turn out. (In my case, the endpoint is two root canals and an extraction.) (So far.) Those moments when your lizard brain has taken the wheel, and you feel like you’re screaming into the void, are perfect for inserting Feral Kermit into your communications. (He looks like a teeth grinder, too.)

FAFO stands for “F**k around and find out.” This popular expression is typically a threat or warning given when someone is taking an action that will have a negative outcome. It’s like saying, “Try it and see what happens.” Who better to express this sentiment than Miss Piggy, a gal who hasn’t taken an ounce of crap in her lifetime? (Perhaps that drove her boyfriend, Kermit the Frog, to become feral. Who’s to say?) Anyway, I am so sick of bad people right now, and I’m really tired of ignoring their bad behaviors. I can’t be the only one feeling this way, which is why Samalot created the FAFO Piggy emoji. When you want to demonstrate that you’ve drawn an outraged line in the sand, and someone is about to step over it, just throw a FAFO Piggy emoji into your message. The recipient should get the point and change their behavior. And if they don’t, then perhaps they’re ready for the “find out” part of the equation.

Sometimes, people feel mildly disgusted or disheartened by something, but protesting isn’t worth their time. On those occasions, they often choose to simply respond with the words, “Just no.” The words are fine, but now you can use a Just No Chorus emoji to express the same thing, and here’s the really exciting part: If a picture (i.e., an emoji) is worth a thousand words, that’s a LOT of “Just No’s” being offered on your behalf, 1,000 if you use one emoji, and 4,000 if you use all four!!

Just YES! Amirite??

I’ve noticed something interesting in a lot of recent social media posts, and it isn’t confined to a particular platform. I mean, I’ve seen this on TikTok and Instagram, and counter-intuitively, I’ve also seen it on LinkedIn. Basically, a lot of people are announcing that after three years of the pandemic, along with all the other crises and struggles that have occurred, they are no longer interested in keeping up some appearances. Instead, they just want to be who they are and embrace the simple things that make them happy. Whenever I run across these posts, which happens with increasing regularity, I always feel a jolt of happiness. I’m so glad to learn about anyone who is living their best life and re-discovering what makes them happy. 

To show our solidarity with those folks, we’ve created the Back On My Bulls**t Eagle emoji. If you ever want to tell someone you’re taking some type of action that makes you happy, but you don’t want to explain your motives or rationale, you can just put a Back On My Bulls**t emoji at the end of your statement. It’s your bulls**t, and you’re cool with it. That’s all anyone needs to know.

I honestly have mixed feelings about these last three emojis. Here’s why: While “Let THAT sink in is a very popular expression people use when they want to make sure others very carefully consider what they just said and hopefully become as outraged as they are, it has a nails-on-a-chalkboard effect on me. I roll my eyes a bit whenever I read a tweet or post that tells me to let something sink in because it feels sort of self-righteous. HOWEVER, this expression is everywhere, so in an act of goodwill, I’m offering up this sequence of emojis. And I do encourage you to use the full sequence. They are designed to show the range of emotions people experience when they really DO let something sink in and become as annoyed as the author. I won’t be using it much, but you can, and you’re welcome. (And, I’m sorry?)

We have officially entered a new era, friends.

It’s challenging and filled with lots of big, new feelings. I hope you now feel at least somewhat equipped to emote about them in your digital communications. 

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