Christian Long

Rives: Three Minute Story of Mixed Emoticons

In TED Talks on May 26, 2010 at 2:15 pm

Extra credit reflection by RYAN S.

Original TED page w/ speaker bio, links, comments, etc:

Rives:  Three Minute Story of Mixed Emotions

Rives: Three Minute Story of Mixed Emoticons

Human comprehension is a weird thing. We comprehend things not by their actual nature but by association, and what we have always known them to be about. We’re no better than Pavlov’s dogs panting at the bell, hoping for a meal. When we see the symbols on the screen, and when we’re told that this —> ” Q<= “… is a girl, we are sure that until the end of the story, this series of symbols represents a girl. For years after this video, possibly even for forever, you will see a girl, whenever you see these symbols. it’s a unique type of learning. It is instantaneous, allows instant access to vivid imagery, and within seconds you’re completely sure that, what you are seeing is what you’re told you are seeing.

Now while I took the opportunity of the video, to talk a little bit about human understanding and memorization, I did very little to actually analyze the video. So Without any further digressing, here is a more direct interpretation of this video. At the start of his presentation, Rives starts talking about emoticons. Now, I just realized that not everyone reading this may know what emoticons are. For those of you who aren’t aware, Emoticons are images that can be made on the keyboard, by typing certain symbols (they are usually used to express emotions). The most well know example are smileys. To make a “smiley” you Type a colon “:” and an end parentheses “)” when put together they form the following image “:)”. This as you can probably tell, appears to be a face turned on its side. This video uses emoticons like the one above to tell a story. However, what is the deeper meaning here? While his video is entertaining, it wouldn’t be Ted worthy unless it had a point to convey. So, simply put, what is that point. A third of the way humans communicate is verbally. The other two thirds is through hand gestures and tones. This might be an example of exactly that. Looking at each emoticon individually, you might be able to understand. You’d see symbols like “monkey” or “girl” but overall the “story” would be gibberish. Without a person filling in the in-betweens of Rives’ story we would never be able to understand the context of what the words meant.

This video in and of itself, is nothing more than a quick and funny thing to occupy some time, and cause a few chuckles. However, it gives us the potential to go far more in depth, and to talk about topics relative to thousands of things. I recommend this video to everyone, it’s a fun, and easy way to spend five minutes, and it should be enjoyed by everyone.

Thank you for reading this analysis.


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