Talking Without Words

Nicholas C. Rossis

No, I’m not talking about non-verbal communication, i.e. shrugs, facial expressions, etc. I’m talking about emojis and, specifically, a new form of communication: “fake typing.”

As Mike Elgan explains in his newsletter (which I highly recommend to anyone interested in technology), when you’re typing a message to someone, apps tend to show what is called a “typing indicator.” As in: “Nicholas is typing…” In some apps, it’s three dots in a thought bubble.

Typing | From the blog of Nicholas C. Rossis, author of science fiction, the Pearseus epic fantasy series and children's books

But then they don’t send.

The reply is the other person typing without sending. Each person sees the typing indicator. And that’s the whole conversation.

The idea is to convey that “I’m thinking about you” or “hey.”

The trend started on Snapchat among flirting teenagers, then spread to other messaging platforms and other people for other purposes.

Rise of the Non-Words

This spectacularly non-verbal communication is the latest in a long and growing number…

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