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Canadians Love Poop, Americans Love Pizza: How Emojis Fare Worldwide

The company SwiftKey analyzed more than a billion pieces of emoji data, organized by language and country. According to SwiftKey’s chief marketing officer, Joe Braidwood, the results were fascinating. Here’s a sample of what researchers found: People are mostly likely to send happy faces: “The overall thing we noticed is that 70 percent of all emojis sent are positive and so that’s probably a good thing that we’re talking to…

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Boosting the Signal: Peaceful Protesters in Baltimore are the Norm

Video of people throwing rocks or burning cars appeals to our baser emotions (anger, fear, disgust), which leads to faster, more intense emotional responses that TV can use to make money (by packaging our eyeballs and selling them to advertisers). TV news is very good at capturing our attention. Images of hundreds of peaceful, determined faces appeal to our higher emotions, which are not as easy to monetize. I want…

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We are cruel. We always have been. The Internet did not make us so

We didn’t start the flame war. Scandalous satirical pamphlets were once cranked out by writers and sold at train stations, like so many primordial blog posts. Political cartoons have a long and vicious history. Incivility is our legacy, not our invention. It is part, but only part, of who we are. And have always been. –Tabatha Southey, The Globe and Mail.

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Undergrad Danielle Sidoti Nails an Oral Interpretation/Analysis of “Barbie Doll” by Marge Piercy

In my online “American Literature” class, I recorded several video and audio lectures, which students listened to and responded to via their blogs. By the middle of the term, I started scaling back my audio lectures, in part because the students didn’t need to hear my voice anymore — they were interpreting the works on their blogs. I started asking them to post their own audio interpretation of poems and passages.…

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What Part of “No, Totally” Don’t You Understand?

English continues to evolve. I noticed this construction several times today. “No, totally.” “No, definitely.” “No, exactly.” “No, yes.” These curious uses turn “no” into a kind of contranym: a word that can function as its own opposite. Out of the million-odd words in the English language, perhaps a hundred have this property. You can seed a field, in which case you are adding seeds, or seed a grape, in…

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Apple’s new diverse emoji are even more problematic than before

This author did a great job articulating the unease I felt when I learned about Apple’s racially diverse emoji. I don’t like it when interfaces translate my textual emoticons ;-) into graphic symbols. Now I feel like I’ll have to think deliberately about whatever color the autocorrect chooses for those graphics. Because I’m black, should I now feel compelled to use the “appropriate” brown-skinned nail-painting emoji? Why would I use the…