Emoji Dick. Man, I don’t even know where to start with this. On one hand, it is certainly a grand testament to the power of human imagination and the aggregate efforts of crowdsourcing. Together, there is no obstacle too great, including Herman Melville, that we cannot surmount and overcome. On the other hand, it is rare I discover something I so genuinely, sincerely consider useless. Generally, I pride myself as an open-minded individual. I consider it a strength that I can usually find merit in just about any project, human, or argument.
But good lord. Emoji Dick– this one I really needed to stretch for– it’s a real reach.
I first discovered Emoji Dick on the a16z podcast hosted by Sonal Chokshi. (For what it’s worth, by the way, Chokshi is excellent. I curate my podcast playlist very carefully and have listened to many voices over the years. The way she thinks about “insight per minute” and information density is the absolute best. I really love listening to her interview and show run the a16z podcast.)
Anyway, emojis were something I had for the longest time never cared for. I’d considered them childish and was enormously snobbish about them. I consider myself “grammatically proper” and refuse to shop anywhere that doesn’t use “ten items or fewer” for its express checkout queue. So much to my surprise, there’s an entire hidden political war in the world of emojis. For example, as Chokshi raised in the episode– does Taiwan get an emoji flag? For China, that was a no-go and would have huge implications on the Unicode standard (for in which there is a Unicode Emoji Subcommittee). And were there sexist implications of the “woman emoji with bunny ears?” And how would each vendor (Microsoft, Google, Apple, LG, Samsung, etc) choose to implement those Unicode emoji standards on their own platforms? It was a fraught and twisted web.
So fast forward to now and I’m wholly onboard. The emoji ship has sailed. I’ve decided to take life much less seriously (especially after meeting Bagel). We only live this lifetime once… might as well use some emojis. 🚢👋🍰🚀