Why Emojis Are Important For Our Generation

Why Emojis Are Important For Our Generation

The possibly ridiculous but necessary feature of communication between millennials.

We use them all the time. Our parents (my parents๐Ÿ˜’) make fun of us for it unless they use them as well. And why? They're just tiny pictures of yellow circles making different expressions, or a heart or a leaf or a unicorn or a piece of poo with a smiley face ๐Ÿ˜‘ ๐Ÿ˜‚. Why do we need any of that? To express our individuality through things created for the masses? So that there can be a movie about them where Patrick Stuart voices the bow-tie wearing poo emoji? For real though, he is, I'M SO HYPE!๐Ÿ’ฉ. But no. It is simple; we need them because our generations way of communicating has gotten to a point where a majority of it is done through texting, there is no face to face when it comes to this kind of contact, we need that little picture to let the other person know what we're feeling in an effort to avoid catastrophic miscommunication; the which I have suffered first hand๐Ÿ™ˆ.

If you're like me, you have a very dry, sarcastic sense of humor where you always know when someone is joking but when you joke back, which is always, they don't realize you are and think that you didn't realize they were joking. It's a heavy cross to bear ๐Ÿ˜œ. See I put that in to make it clear that I was in fact joking about that being such a huge burden. Also if you're like me you're a terrible texter. I did not realize for the longest time how much I needed emojis in my life. It wasn't until I began realizing that the responses to my sarcasm were serious and apologetic that I understood. I cringe when looking back on old texts I sent realizing that texts I sent that didn't have an emoji to indicate that I wasn't being serious came across as just bitchy remarks. No wonder people think I can't take a joke, without An emoji, my sarcastic joke is just an abrasive shut-down. They are as necessary as an "lol" a "jk" a "haha" an exclamation point, etc. most of which I have also failed to employ in my texting๐Ÿ˜. In the world of texting, emojis equal tone. In the real world, often times what matters most is not what you say but how you say it. Depending on tone, a simple word like โ€œthanksโ€ or "sorry" can take on vastly different meanings. Without an emoji, a simple word like this can be misconstrued. This is often what leads to people dissecting a texts meaning, or worrying that something is wrong when a text appears snippy. For example, a friend of mine tried to make a joke saying that they would spend all of their time visiting me playing with my cats rather than me ๐Ÿ˜, and I naturally responded with, โ€œgo ahead, I donโ€™t need you, my cats will hate you anyway.โ€ โ€˜cause for real, Iโ€™m just as fun as my cats ๐Ÿ˜ผ ๐Ÿ˜Ž. But I gave no indication that I was joking so I just sounded mad and my friend apologized stating that she was only kidding. And thatโ€™s not nearly the worst instance. Iโ€™m pretty sure my poor, abrasive, emoji-less texting has at times put a damper on connections with people in my life ๐Ÿ˜•. But Iโ€™m learning now ๐Ÿ˜….

If you are not a fan of emojis then donโ€™t use them. The emoji world needs to be improved and expanded on so many levels anyway but anyway; when you text, you know what you mean, and others will just have to deal with it. All I am saying, is that using them will save you explaining what you mean. Also you can totally have a full conversation using only emojis and up your flirting game๐Ÿ’ฏ. A picture is worth a thousand words friends; so to is an emoji.

Plus, isnโ€™t it great when someone sends you โ€œ๐Ÿ†โ€ (we all know what it means), and you can just be like โ€œ๐Ÿ˜ท.โ€ So many different meanings now ๐Ÿ˜‚.


Cover Image Credit: Glamour

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Does Technology Make Us More Alone?

Technology -- we all love it and we all use it, but how is it affecting us?

In this day and age, it is near impossible to do anything without the use of technology. You can pay your bills, manage your bank accounts and even chat with a customer service representative all with the use of your smartphone.

Is the use of technology starting to take away from our person-to-person interaction? Think about how often you grab your smartphone or tablet and text your friends instead of picking up the phone to call them or, better yet, making plans to hang out in person.

Technology is supposed to make us feel more connected by allowing us to stay in touch with our friends by using social media sites such as Facebook or Twitter and of course, texting. But are our smartphones getting in the way of socializing? Does technology make us feel more alone?

There is a term that is commonly used, "FOMO" โ€“โ€“ short for "fear of missing out." Yes, this is a real thing. If for some crazy reason you don't check your Twitter or Facebook news feed every 10 minutes are you really missing out?

The fact that we have become so dependent on knowing exactly what is going on in other people's lives is sad. We should be focusing on our own lives and our own interactions and relationships with people.

Technology is making us more alone because instead of interacting with our friends in person, we are dependent on using our phones or tablets. We start to compare ourselves and our lives to others because of how many likes we get on our Instagram photos.

We are forgetting how to use our basic communication skills because we aren't interacting with each other, anymore. We are too busy with our noses in our phones. Young kids are dependent on a tablet to keep them entertained rather than playing with toys. That is not how I want my children to grow up.

As a society, we will start to become very lonely people if we don't start making changes. We are ruining personal relationships because of the addiction to our smartphones and checking our social media sites every five minutes.

It's time for us to own our mistakes and start to change. Next time you reach for your phone, stop yourself. When you are with your friends, ignore your phone and enjoy the company of your loved ones around you.

Technology is a great thing, but it is also going to be the thing that tears us apart as a society if we don't make changes on how dependent we are on it.

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Final Fantasy 10's Climax: Confronting Yunalesca

Although it was a scene I first saw as a kid, I get the chills even now every time I watch it, maybe partially out of nostalgia, but also out of something powerful that I can't capture correctly

For context, this article is another analysis of the significance and emotional impact of a scene in the popular Japanese RPG, Final Fantasy 10. As I don't expect the audience of this article to start playing a game targeted towards an audience of 12-15 year olds, this includes a spoiler of arguably one of the most important scenes in the game. A couple weeks ago, I wrote an article about the scene where Rikku reveals a necessary sacrifice in the final summoning, the rite of passage throughout the whole game to defeat Sin, the monster terrorizing the world.

In that scene, Rikku revealed to our protagonist, Tidus, that the final summoning requires the death of the summoner, the other protagonist: Yuna. The final summoning gets a summoner the final aeon, which will defeat Sin and kill the summoner. In addition, Sin always comes back after period known as the "calm," when Sin is not killing people in Spira.

The religious infrastructure of the world of Spira, Yevon, teaches its followers (the vast majority of the population) that Sin terrorizes the world because of the their sins in using advanced technology, known as machina. This makes sense, since Sin most commonly attacks vastly populated areas where the use of machina is often inevitable. Knowing this, the followers of Yevon have hope that Sin can one day be eradicated if they follow the teachings of Yevon. As such, Yuna is a celebrity of Spira - ten years before, her father was the summoner who defeated Sin and initiated the last calm. Expectations are the same for her.

The party undergoes an adventure of fighting monsters and getting the necessary aeons. Midway through, however, they earns the ire of Yevon after killing one of its most powerful members, Seymour. When they reach the main temple of Spira, Tidus, Yuna, Rikku, and the others find that Yevon is embroiled in hypocrisy: the temple uses very advanced machina, while preaching to its followers to not do so. Finally, the party reaches the final destination, Zanarkand, where Yuna is set to get the final summoning. For the past couple days, the party has been trying to find ways around the final summoning, or at least get the final aeon without Yuna having to die, and at that point, they still have not found a solution.

They reach the final temple where they meet Yunalesca, the first summoner to obtain the final aeon a thousand years before, and the safeguard for the final summoning. While Yuna is more than willing to give her own life to obtain the final aeon and give the people of Spira peace, there's another stipulation: the final summoning requires another sacrifice of one of her guardians to be the spirit of the aeon. Almost every one of the guardians volunteers without hesitation, with the exception of Tidus and Rikku, who are opposed to the whole process in the first place.

But Yuna is hesitant. Tidus and Rikku still want to find another way, but the rest of the guardians think they're being naive, immature, and too idealistic. The next scene is, without a doubt, the climax of the game, when Yuna rejects the final summoning because she doesn't want to sacrifice any more lives. The party confronts Yunalesca, and the following dialogue ensues (I have selected what I feel are the most pivotal quotes).

Yuna: "Might I ask something first? Will Sin come back even should I use the Final Summoning to defeat it?"
Yunalesca : "Sin is eternal. Every aeon that defeats it becomes Sin it its place... And thus is Sin reborn."
Lulu: "This...this cannot be! The teachings state that we can exorcise Sin with complete atonement! It's been our only hope all these years!"
Yunalesca: "Hope is...comforting. It allows us to accept fate, however tragic it might be."
Yuna: "I would have gladly died. I live for the people of Spira, and would have gladly died for them. But no more! The Final Summoning... is a false tradition that should be thrown away."
Yunalesca: "No. It is our only hope. Your father sacrificed himself to give that hope to the people. So they would forget sorrow."
Yuna: "Wrong. My father... My father wanted... to make Spira's sorrow go away. Not just cover it up with lies!"
Auron: "Now! This it is! Now is the time to choose: die or be free of pain, or live and fight your sorrow! Now is the time to shape your stories. Your fate is in your hands!"

There's a lot of analysis that can go into this - but there are a couple instrumental themes that make the scene. Yuna, Tidus, and the party want to save the world, but do it in a way that doesn't perpetuate the institutional cycle of death that it requires, and they don't want it to be a band-aid solution like it was in the past. They want to reform not only the system, but the world, and eradicate Sin forever rather than just a couple ears. The party has an idealism that is criticized by the whole rest of the world, and in finding another way, they eventually succeedl

Yuna and Tidus teach us what we need to make reform and idealism come true: an unwavering determination, a willingness to work against tradition, and lifelong allies at your side. They want to dismantle the status quo of the world, and replace it with something better. Auron's last line of the scene, right before the party is about the fight Yunalesca (the most powerful enemy they have faced so far, and one of the most powerful and respected in the world), epitomizes the famous Emiliano Zapata quote: "it is better to die on your feet than live on your knees."

You need a lot of things to win a revolution - and one thing the party has in Final Fantasy 10 is a whole lot of luck. At any point, they could have been too weak and died. Yunalesca could have easily done away from them, and the status quo would have been maintained.

There is one thing that is absolutely essential to destroying the status quo, though: a better alternative. While change, any change may be desired and even necessary, what would have happened if the party just killed Yunalesca, eliminated the final summoning because it was wrong, and left it at that? Sin would have terrorized the world forever, without any peace for the rest of eternity. The goal, for Yuna, was not to leave the world and the final summoning worse off than they were before - but rather better than before.

It's important to note that Yuna didn't choose to defy Yevon and destroy the rite of passage of the final summoning by choice. She lived her whole life as a devout follower of Yevon. She wanted to follow in her father's footsteps and go through with the final summoning. But when the hypocrisy of Yevon conflicted with her integrity, and the sacrifice of one of her lifelong, closest friends conflicted with her morals, she was pushed in that direction. Yuna leads her reluctantly, but in her reluctance is graceful in doing so.

Maybe there aren't that many lessons - but this scene is the emotional and plot climax of the whole game. Although it was a scene I first saw as a kid, I get the chills even now every time I watch it, maybe partially out of nostalgia, but also out of something powerful that I can't capture correctly. Yuna was willing to step off the path put before her and make her own story, and maybe it's just because they were willing to risk everything to do things differently and capture a real hope that would last.

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