Month: January 2015

Emoticon, Emoji, Kaoani, Henohenomoheji, Shift_JIS art

old_emoticonThe expansion of the “internet universe” is determining lots of “collateral effects”, among these we underline the spreading of a certain “linguistic scissors” between the spoken language and the virtual one.
The global diffusion of chat and social services, tools of immediate access, often used through smart devices characterized by keyboards and video of small dimensions, available also on the move, is changing our way of expressing and communicating.
The virtual language, that is the “smart language“, is more and more synthetic, brief, ill-formed. First it has abandoned the punctuation, then the apostrophes and the accents and finally it has pushed aside the breaks, spaces and articles. But gradually, it is losing part of the vowels and consonants.
In some of the previous articles, we have pointed out the fact that internet is able to produce phenomena and tendencies as a reaction of rules and situations which characterize the real world. The new ways of communication, the new linguistic forms, confirm this axiom, that the world of the rhetoric, exposition, time and space with an exclusive use and available only for the few, finds its alternative in the social tools, direct, immediate and available to everyone: to the timid ones, the different ones, to the youngest.
A brachyological approach, in open contrast with the twentieth-century’s rhetoric, inclined to simplify, accelerate and reduce the waste of energies on the keyboard but, at the same time, able to provide an immediate contribution and, frequently, more sincere, participatory and collective, characterized by comments, opinions, emotions.
On top of this process we find of course the hashtags which became the common denominator of the cyber-thought, the glue between users who don’t know each others, the main vehicle for new tendencies and new debates. But it’s not just that…
Very close, still on the podium, we find the Emoticons, smileys, which represent facial expressions such as a smile or a frown, often used for emphasizing what was already said or in replay to what was just read (therefore fundamental in order to provide fast answers, simultaneously, to more friends or groups of friends). For instance it is widespread among the users of the chat WhatsApp, becoming a tool of global communication. The Emoticons have become the “salt and pepper” of our conversations. Hands up how many of you didn’t “spice” at least once a conversation or a comment with a smiley!

emoticonsIf we go further toward East we find the Emoji, pictographic symbols created in Japan. It is about entity characterized by a greater expressive detail, the same one “adopted” by Apple in its iOS system. The Japanese have a particular predilection toward these symbols, perhaps for the strong assonance with their method of pictographic writing. From a certain point of view the Kana, the syllabic alphabets which allow the writing in Japanese, are very close to these new tendencies, they represent the progeny of it.

EmojiAnd because the imagination has no limit, and consequently neither the forms of expression, online we also find the Kaoani, term derived from the Japanese kao (….smiley) and ani (….animation). It is about emoticon, normally very small, able to become animated in order to emphasize even more the concept. Altogether, in our opinion, the kaoani jump about a little too much. In fact, they do achieve their goal: to draw our attention.
In Japan the kaoani is also known as puff, blob souls, anikao or emoticon souls.
There are other forms of expression that are only apparently new, for instance the smileys denominated Henohenomoheji (へのへのもへじ) or Hehenonomoheji (へへののもへじ). It is about representations of faces, human expressions, used online but already present in the Japanese tradition as faces for scarecrows and masks. They are created positioning carefully some of the hiragana characters. In this case too, we have before us an expressive form that precedes the web advent: A form of simple communication, direct, childish, but at the same time immediate and rich of emotional potential.

henohenomohejiAs a background of all, we find forms of expression created in the early ‘80s, which use the set of characters ASCII, to put it plainly, that one that is currently on our keyboard and allows us to write. We are in the ASCII art, characterized by patterns, or better said by forms designed exclusively with the help of the special characters available on our keyboard.

ascii-snoopyTo confirm the “major plus” that the Japanese have in creating and using these expressive forms, we find the Shift_JIS art (Shift_Japanese Industrial Standards art), art which creates forms from the set of characters ASCII expressively enriched by the Japanese pictograms.
We clearly live the paradox where tools and new technologies determine a regression in the way of communicating and, at the same time, a remarkable increase regarding the quantity of the exchanged messages (not to mention how fast are exchanged and how many people are involved).
A global trend, characterized by various expressive forms, cannot be rejected by a simple urgency to reduce to a minimum the movements on the keyboard. There is clearly a trend in progress, which in answer to the expansion of our virtual relational net and the difficulty of contributing to our complex social system, tends to simplify, in a quite unique and original way, with the purpose of sharing emotional contents.
These new forms of art are the result of a precise process which includes the video games of the 1970s, the smileys, they too phenomenon in vogue in the 1980s, the SMS which allowed us to quickly communicate fast for all the 1990s, up to the new web, to the chats and the social networks 2.0.
After all, the web has only raised a sort of digital estate amplifying it on a global scale.


What would you give up for the Internet? Would you give up coffee, chocolate, showers?

In this article we’ll try to take ourselves less seriously and we’ll do it by analyz erred to as “The Internet Economy in the G-20” carried out by Boston Consulting Group (BCG).
We would like to think that the research we take the cue from is absolutely reliable, both for methods and contents, in fact, it will provide us interesting ideas on the connection between real economy and internet in the first 20 industrialized countries, data which we’ll analyse in the next articles. But there is an aspect, funny and at the same time sociologically significant, that just leap out at us.
One of the questions posed by the research is: “What would you give up from your lifestyle habits for one year of the Internet?” (Percentage of people willing to give up a key lifestyle habit instead of the Internet for a year).
To each person interviewed it was asked his own willingness to give up on “this or that” key habit in order to keep an internet connection and to each of them 9 options were provided as answer.
The results are absolutely amazing, let’s see them nation by nation:

In Brazil almost all the interviewees would give up their GPS, of course they have the smart phones with built-in GPS receivers!!! But it was really unexpected, at least in intent, how 76% of the Brazilians would give up alcohol! Is it possible to consider internet as deterrent for loneliness and alcoholism? Who knows??? What also surprises me is that more than half of the interviewees would give up coffee and chocolate (in Brazil!?). While probably the percentages, however remarkable, of the interviewees who would give up sex and taking a shower are purely theoretical. It is about those internet users who most probably don’t have a partner and therefore don’t express a true renunciation (maybe they don’t have a partner because they never take a shower?).

In China, the results are really unbelievable; the use of internet seems very deep-rooted, therefore the percentages are very significant. All the daily activities (motor, personal, intimate, of hygiene,…) are set-aside in order to keep on being connected online. It seems that for a great part of the Chinese interviewees, the real world has a secondary role compared to the web.
The sensitivity that the Chinese have to internet is absolutely amazing; it is perhaps justified by the desire to communicate with others and to be informed, considering also the bad relation between the Chinese government and the information, and consequently, with Internet and the search engines since time immemorial.
In this case too, we find very high percentages of internet users who would give up showering for an entire year. According to the statistics there are over 500 million Chinese… a choice that would damage the entire terrestrial ecosystem.

The French turn out to be more virtuous, the answers are in line with what we have seen in Brazil, with a (positive) difference regarding the renounce of the showering and a negative one regarding the alcohol. In essence, it is confirmed the great willingness of giving up something just to remain connected to internet.

The Germans love Internet and we are sure of it, how else do we explain the fact that the 77% of them would give up beer for one year of internet?
Having analysed the first four countries, we can identify the first interesting common indicators. One of them is definitely the car, whose connection with internet is almost constant in Brazil, France, Germany, (24,23,23), the other one is the giving up sex (12,16,16).

In India the results are a little bit different from the previous ones, maybe because India is divided into two parts as far as the use of Internet. Lots of people would never stay away from Internet, but at the same time (around) 30% of Indians don’t even use it. Comparing to the previous surveys, the gap between the actions to which they would gladly give up and the others “indispensable”, is undoubtedly reduced.
India doesn’t have the stratospheric indicators of China, but it is not so far away from it, many Indians challenge aspects of their daily life. We find significant percentages also regarding the habits apparently indispensable.

Still with the intent of evaluating the spread and use of Internet around the countries different from ours, we reach Japan where the use of Internet is very deep-rooted, as the huge numbers confirm, almost unanimous for the first items of the list, chocolate inclusive, likewise the other important numbers for the “secondary” habits such as coffee, alcohol, gymnastic exercises.
From this analysis, it seems that the Japanese are much more dedicated to the virtual social relationships than to the real ones, 56% of them, which means the majority, would give up sex in order to stay connected online. Obviously the web provides them tools of social and relational gratification, equal if not superior to those available in the real world; this is the symptom of a social and personal isolation, of a very introverted society.
The only exception is the shower. We all know that an invigorating and relaxing bath at the end of the day is in the Japanese tradition. We are standing at one of the few cases in which traditions (and necessity) outweigh innovation.

The data of South Korea are not so dissimilar from those Japanese with some exceptions. It seems that the Koreans, just like the Japanese, don’t love chocolate while, according to these data, they appear to be more passionate (and less inclinable to take a shower) than the Japanese.

With the aim of giving you global and exhaustive information we move to another continent, in South Africa, whose percentages are practically the same as the European ones, with an unexpected exception, and that is the car, to which the interviewees don’t intend to give up. A people of internet users and drivers

We find high percentages in Great Britain as well and for the first time is exceeded the 90% limit, not so much for the fondness towards internet but for the disaffection toward fast eating proposed by the fast foods. The people of her majesty do not like the fast foods, not even a bit.
Comparing to the answers given by the European neighbors, two are the indices out of standard, the 65% of alcohol renouncement (against the 77% of the Germans) and 25% who would give up sex (against the 16% of Germans and French).
Besides the emergent role of internet in the lives of the people across the planet, also emerge the everyday habits, the different traditions and customs of all the latitudes.

To cap it all, the United States of America, whose answers are fundamentally in line with those European, with a slight show of affection towards their cars and personal hygiene.
The picture that emerges is extremely coherent, internet is globalizing us, people of different cultures, traditions and languages show their passion for the cyberspace, declaring it inalienable, not even in exchange for some important activities of their daily habits. In some cases is almost reached the paradox, the virtual world with its own intangible, I would say “differently real” offer of relationships and virtual emotions, becomes the first choice.
Of course, it’s only a survey, therefore it is recommended to separate the declarations of the intents from our real actions, but the numbers are clear, there is a precise, similar, perception of internet in our life regardless who we are and where we are.
Upsetting our perspective, if we examine the percentages we notice that fortunately the real world still play the main role, even more so we remember that this is about intentions of giving up and not of real renouncements.
We hope that the majority of people will not lose at least some of the healthy and necessary daily habits such as showering.


In thanking the BCG for the contents examined in detail published online, we remind you that WorldTwoDotZero is only a game, a web walk to take together, it doesn’t have any commercial purpose.