Language. The method of human communication, either spoken or written, consisting of the use of words in a structured and conventional way. Structured? Conventional? Written? In its state of constant change, the internet is no environment bounded by the terms ‘structured’ or ‘conventional’. In fact, if we have learnt anything over the weeks of our course, it is quite the opposite.
Beginning with the fundamental notion of language, English appears to be the most represented language on the Internet. The Guardian reports that on Twitter, an estimated “49% of tweets are in other languages” with Japanese, Spanish and Indonesian users being the most active (Young 2018). An analysis of online behaviour suggests that users online confine their digital sphere to users who speak the same language. So whilst Twitter is presented as a platform of global conversation, yet, these digital interactions are ‘fragmented’ and constricted within the realm of the individuals comfort. Of course, it is understood that each user will use Twitter to communicate in a unique way. Whether it be to spread #positive messages, political news, reactions to new TV shows, #love, song lyrics, photos or even to promote products and endorsed goods.
Moving on, language begins to become more abstract and more fluid. Communication through images, and photos act as a common reactive response. There are no longer words, simply an image or a gif! Just as they say, ‘a picture is worth a thousand words’. There is something completely incomprehensible about how an image can represent so much. Similarly to my peers blog post about memes, I agree that a meme, and images in general, can portray a feeling. There are many images circulating the Internet that portray an emotion of its context, which can be manipulated and used for various other occasions. I commented that, “memes have created a new internet language, that only a particular population group will understand!”. However, the wrath of the Internet reaches all parts of world, making this type of language more common than ever. More users are able to view the image, read about it, understand why it’s used in its context and simply enjoy and share it. My top 2 favourites are:
And we mustn’t forget emoji’s! A digital language made up of symbols that can be coded to make up a whole new meaning to the symbol itself. Introduced by the iPhone as an optional keyboard, which is one of the most popular phones of choice. According to Moreau (2018), the most commonly used emojis across Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are: 😂, ❤️ and 😍. It is interesting that each symbol can mean multiple things, and the Internet assists in this understanding by providing dictionaries, or ‘Emojipedia’. They are commonly used among my peers as symbols of support and are tools of self-esteem building on all forms of social media. As the iPhone constantly renews and updates its software, emoji’s are often recycled and recreated to keep up with the contemporary landscape. For example, more recently the ‘red headed’ variations of familiar emoji was introduced to encourage ethnically diverse emojis.
As the Internet language continues to rapdily grow and expand, the communication between online users is becoming more known and understood with the aid of users themselves, and the Internet. Whilst it was once constricted within certain boundaries such as language, geographical location and even word count, our new Internet language continuously develops to establish new meanings in our online interactions. This enriches our social interactions online and proves language is no longer as conventional as it once was.
– Emojipedia. https://emojipedia.org/smiling-face-with-heart-shaped-eyes/
– Moreau, E 2018. “What are the most popular emojis used on social media?”. LifeWire. Retrieved from: https://www.lifewire.com/what-are-the-most-popular-emoji-3485892
– Young, H 2018. ‘The Digital Language Divide”. The Guardian. Retrieved from: labs.theguardian.com/digital-language-divide/