Currently pushing: Roxane Gay, Bad Feminist. Yeah, Gay is having a moment right now -- she talks about that in her recent essay, “The Price of Black Ambition.” I’ve been reading Gay’s stuff for awhile, and I’m so excited she’s blowing up. Just Google around for her articles, there’s plenty, and you’ll want to quote so many things. Meanwhile, everyone should read Bad Feminist, everyone! You can start with the titular essay, "Bad Feminist (2012)."
About a year ago, I went to the Emoji Art and Design Show at the Eyebeam in Chelsea. I was only a dabber in emoji up to that point, but wanted to know more. Most of my emoji usage up to that fateful day was limited to sending spouting whale as my sign off, a way to end a text conversation. Basic stuff.
But a developer friend had been wondering how to get new emoji into smartphones -- specifically ethnic emoji -- and after some online research, I learned about the Unicode Consortium and their iron grip on what can become universal emoji. That killed that idea. Yeah, you can make your own emoji app and everything but it’s hard to get people to copy-paste things, or to flip around to special keyboards. Emoji making was not going to be in my future.
Before coming to Taiwan, I had Line and WhatsApp but didn’t really use either. WhatsApp is profoundly ugly, and the UI is a mess so I still don’t use it. However, Line is now like my favorite app. Forget text messaging, being able to sticker everything is one thousand percent better than just using words alongside standard emoji. When we were young, George and I were obsessed with stickers. I mean, who wasn’t? We each had our special binder of stuff, and during our great garage cleanup of 2014 -- mandated by my mom -- we unearthed both of our collections. Puffy stickers, glittery stickers, scratch-and-sniff stickers, Snoopy stickers, rainbow stickers, everything was still right there. Well, fast forward a few decades and here we are, at the pinnacle of human evolution: digital stickers. And better yet, these stickers can be used as emotional shorthand and don't degrade over time. What’s not to like?
My first foray into digital stickers was this summer, via Facebook’s Messenger app. In fact, I specifically downloaded Messenger to sticker. A friend who was working at Facebook introduced us to the power of stickers and we spent the better part of an afternoon having sticker conversations. It was wonderful, and since then I've been pushing stickering on everyone, even going so far as to demand people download Messenger. "It'll change your life!" I said. I say that a lot but this time I really meant it. Here’s a nice primer on emoji and why they're wonderful: “Smile, You’re Speaking Emoji.” Same principles applies to stickers, there’s just more sticker options.
Once I found out you could skin your Line app, I was ready to buy all the stickers. All. The. Stickers. But I had to limit my purchases because you can’t spend all your money on stickers right? Maybe at seven years old but now I’m an adult and I know about fiscal responsibility and the dangers of impulse shopping. (Fact: Line takes in ten million in sticker revenue per month...) Thus I’ve limited myself to one sticker pack a week. And I'm staying within a narrow theme: Hello Kitty, Hangyodon, and then some animal stuff, preferably things you encounter in a forest like foxes or bears.
Also you have to think about sticker utility. A nice looking set is great but you must ask yourself, "When would would I use this?" before purchasing. That's practicality speaking. My greatest find so far has been Herbivore Trio, a collection featuring a chicken, a rabbit, and an elephant. They party together, they dress up like vampires, they puke rainbows, and they browse the Internet on iMacs. This personable threesome is just waiting to be tapped for all situations. My only quibble is that a chicken isn't technically an herbivore, but who’s counting?
- Herbivore Trio | Little Forest Friends
- Tanuki & Kitsune | Bac Bac’s Diary
- Tidlom The Sky Hanger: Buffalo Life