Thursday, February 25, 2016

My emotional self is overwhelmed by emojis

You know those parents who nervously hope for a one word answer from their child so they can get back to the game or their phone call without having to delve in a deep discussion about feelings or worries or questions or concerns? Yeah, me too. They just didn't exist in my home.

I was raised by a psychologist father and a social worker mother. If there is one thing I'm equipped to do, it's "talk it out." We analyze and over-analyze everything.

Maybe that's one of a long list of reasons I enjoy Facebook. I get to see what people are doing without having to interact too much. My simple "like" allows me to connect and encourage with very little effort, and yet I'm not perceived as rude. It's a welcomed break for my overactive brain and heart.

Then this happened.

Facebook emojis.

Like. Love. Haha. Wow. Sad. Angry.

These seem simple enough, but I know my overly emotional self is going to look too deeply at these odd little faces and wonder which one appropriately shows my feelings. Let's say I read a post about your dog getting hit by car, and the driver took off, but then a good Samaritan who happens to be a vet saved the day by reviving Fluffy. Well, I feel sad, angry, love. And now I'm wowed and haha-ing about all those emotions.

Dear Facebook,

Your world of one-dimensional relationships where I can connect in a detached way is starting to get flip turned upside down. And I'd like take a minute, just sit right there, and I'll tell all the reasons I think this is unfair...(sorry sometimes Fresh Prince happens).

As I was saying, Facebook is a great way to connect with people, but it's also not real life. I think that's a good thing. I enjoy meeting people, staying in touch with people and learning about people on Facebook, but I also realize it should never take the place of my real-life interactions. I'm not sure I want to spend time deciding if I'm angry or sad, happy or wowed. If I'm close enough to a person I'd prefer they could hear the feeling in my voice, see it in my eyes or even read it in my private text.

All that said, I'm sure I'll start using the emojis, and in a short time, I'll forget it wasn't always an option. Why? Because, let's face it, Facebook, no matter how many changes you make, no matter how many times I cringe and scowl at those changes, I always quickly forget it was ever different. Remember when there wasn't a newsfeed? I don't really either. Hats off, Facebook. Or I guess I should now say "wow."