Emoji Stories

or why technology isn't totally dumb

I’m a wanna-be Luddite (hypocritically, sure, since I teach online, write online, and certainly do my share of emotional screen time) and despite living in a hub of tech innovation, I’m not sold on the idea that technological solutions make things better. I think things that bring out human empathy and creativity and the flourishing of life, human and otherwise, make things better. Occasionally those things are techie things, but usually, especially where kids are involved, the best answer probably involves some dirt and a stick or a tree or something.

So I’m usually over here in my muddy corner, harrumphing about the screeny demise of childhood. But there’s one bemoaning bandwagon I’m not on, and that’s the one about how texting is ruining the younger generations for Proper English and ruining Proper English along the way.

I don’t buy that because:

  • The point of language is to express yourself and be understood.

  • English, like all living languages, is always changing.

  • The English of the future is whatever the people of the future need it to be.

  • Texting is its own art form.

  • Without texting, how would we have Emoji Translation Stories????

Emoji Translations?

I recently stumbled on these Eight Tiny Stories Translated from the Emoji, while I was, you know, spinning my own flax and, um, wandering the internet. My teen students and I tried writing our own, using the chat function on zoom, and had a blast.

Here’s how they work:

  • One person sends five random emojis.

  • Everyone else writes a text-length story, translating them into words.

  • You could do this back and forth between two people, like they do in the article, or have one emoji set inspire a whole group of people’s translations.

  • Continue until bored, then go climb a tree.

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