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科技公司用Emoji“绑架”了我们吗?

更新时间:2016-6-23 18:53:55 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

Hands Off My Smiley Face: Emoji Become Corporate Tools
科技公司用Emoji“绑架”了我们吗?

At last week’s Worldwide Developers Conference, Apple’s annual showcase of new tech, the company announced a special texting feature coming soon to iPhones near you.

上周,在苹果(Apple)的年度新技术展示会——全球开发者大会(Worldwide Developers Conference)上,该公司宣布,一项特殊的输入功能将很快出现在你身边的iPhone上。

“You know, sometimes you’ve typed a whole message and you realize at the end that you’re entirely lacking in emojification,” said Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior vice president for software engineering. “So we provided the solution: When you tap on the emoji button, we’ll highlight all the emojifiable words there, and you can just tap, tap, tap, tap and emojify.”

“你知道,有时你打了一大段文字,最后才发现你完全没用表情符号,”苹果的软件工程高级副总裁克雷格·费代里吉(Craig Federighi)说,“所以,我们提供了一个解决方案:当你点击表情符号按钮时,我们会突出显示所有可以换成表情符号的文字,然后你就点,点,点,它们就变成表情符号了。”

“Children of tomorrow will have no understanding of the English language,” Federighi said jokingly.

“以后的孩子就完全不懂英语了,”费代里吉开玩笑说。

But Apple’s new emoji feature seems more likely to impede a different kind of skill: creating surprising, figurative and subversive forms of individual expression out of the digital ephemera that populate our devices. In a rush to harness the power of the web’s most evocative cultural units — emoji and their hyperactive cousins, GIFs — tech companies, corporate brands and entrepreneurial social media stars could risk inadvertently flattening the creative world that’s sprung up around them.

但是,苹果的新表情符号功能似乎更可能妨碍另一种技能:在转瞬即逝的网络世界中,创造出人意料的、形象的、颠覆性的个性化表达形式。科技公司、公司品牌以及具有企业家精神的社交媒体明星在竞相利用互联网最形象的文化单元的力量——表情符号以及它极度活跃的表兄弟GIF——他们可能会无意中摧毁周围兴起的创意世界。

“There is a constant push and pull between people finding new ways to express themselves online, and companies trying to make money off that expression,” said Luke Stark, who studies digital communication and psychology.

“人们不断寻找在网上表达自己的新方法,公司努力从中赚钱,这样的拉锯一直在持续,”研究数字传播和心理学的卢克·斯塔克(Luke Stark)说。

Emoji have emerged as cultural forces in and of themselves. The crisp, candy-colored glyphs form a modern emotional palette. And it’s growing: On Tuesday, the Unicode Consortium, the body that standardizes emoji, will release 72 new ones that will soon make their way to our fingertips, including a black heart, a wilted flower and a pregnant woman.

表情符号本身已经成为一种文化力量。这些糖果色的新鲜符号形成了现代情绪调色板。而且它还在发展:周二,表情符号标准化机构Unicode Consortium将发布72个新符号,它们将很快出现在我们的指尖,包括一颗黑心、一朵枯萎的花朵以及一个怀孕的女人。

If emoji encourage visual puns and whimsical juxtapositions, GIFs inspire a sharp curatorial sensibility. The art lies in detecting the richest slices of popular media — film, TV or amateur video — and punctuating their greatness by setting them on infinite repeat. The best “reaction” GIFs — those chosen to inject human expression in online conversation — feel both emotionally familiar and visually surprising.

如果说表情符号鼓励的是视觉上的双关俏皮和异想天开的并置,那么GIF激发的是锐利的策划能力。它的艺术在于寻找大众媒体上最精彩的片段——电影、电视或爱好者拍摄的视频——通过无休止的重复突显它们的精彩。最好的“反应”GIF——那些被用来把人的表情插入在线交谈的GIF——给人带来情绪上的亲切感和视觉上的惊喜。

But when emojis and GIFs are filtered through the interests of tech companies, they often become slickly automated. In addition to Apple’s “emojification” feature, there is Twitter’s new GIF keyboard (a partnership with the GIF company Giphy, which has been pumped with $78.95 million worth of funding since 2013). It directs Twitter users to choose from a suite of emotional reactions, including “Agree,” “Applause,” “Aww” and “Eww,” which conjures a set of appropriate GIFs, front-loaded with those featuring the internet’s most GIFable celebrities, such as Beyoncé and Oprah.

但是当表情符号和GIF被科技公司的利益过滤之后,它们往往就会变成自动化的老套的东西。除了苹果的emojification功能,还有Twitter的新GIF键盘(它是与GIF公司Giphy合作开发的,后者从2013年起被注入了7895万美元的资金)。它引导Twitter用户在一系列情绪反应图标中进行选择,包括“赞同”、“鼓掌”、“Aww”和“Eww”,它们能带出一套相应的、提前下载好的GIF,头像用的是互联网上最适合做成GIF的名人,比如碧昂斯(Beyoncé)和奥普拉(Oprah)。

Buying into these features means giving tech companies the power to shape our creative expressions in ways that further enrich the companies themselves. A limited emotional range helps collect data on users’ states of mind. Twitter advertisers can now target users based on the emoji they tweet.

使用这些功能意味着我们允许科技公司塑造我们的创意表情,使得这些公司将来可以从中赚钱。用户常用的有限的表情符号有助于这些公司收集关于用户心态的数据。Twitter的广告商现在可以根据用户在Twitter上使用的表情符号锁定目标用户。

The commodification of digital culture has engendered more explicit corporate branding, too. On Snapchat, where users embellish their selfies with emoji, crayon scribbles, and elaborate “lenses” that cover their faces with virtual masks, marketers such as McDonalds are seizing the opportunity to write their messages across people’s faces.

数字文化的商品化也引发了更明显的公司品牌推广。Snapchat的用户们用表情符号、蜡笔涂鸦和复杂的“透镜”装饰自拍照——“透镜”是用虚拟面具遮盖脸部,麦当劳(McDonalds)等商家利用这个机会把自己的信息写在人脸上。

Even celebrities have tried to encode themselves. In December, Kim Kardashian West released her latest pioneering app, Kimoji, which serves up an alternative emoji set (and a suite of GIFs) designed around her own image. It inspired a boomlet of celebrity emoji offerings, including Stephen Curry’s StephMoji app, Amber Rose’s MuvaMoji, Justin Bieber’s Justmoji and the actor Ansel Elgort’s Anselfie. Even Drake’s dad has emoji now.

甚至连名人们也努力让自己数码化。去年12月,金·卡戴珊·韦斯特(Kim Kardashian West)发布了自己最新的、开创性的应用程序Kimoji——根据她的形象设计的一套表情符号(以及一套GIF)。这引发了一阵名人表情符号热潮,包括斯蒂芬·库里(Stephen Curry)的StephMoji应用程序,安伯·罗丝(Amber Rose)的MuvaMoji,贾斯汀·比伯(Justin Bieber)的Justmoji,以及演员安塞尔·埃尔格特(Ansel Elgort)的Anselfie。甚至连德雷克(Drake)的爸爸现在都有了表情符号。

With Kimoji, and its micro images of breasts and butts, Kardashian West isn’t just sexy: She represents sex itself. But as more stars jump on the bandwagon, these apps begin to represent little more than a branding opportunity: Ansel Elgort sticking out his tongue; Ansel Elgort pouting; Ansel Elgort wearing headphones.

Kimoji上有卡戴珊·韦斯特的胸部和臀部微型图片——她不只是性感:她代表着性本身。但是随着更多明星加入这一热潮,这些应用程序开始仅仅沦为品牌推广机会:安塞尔·埃尔格特伸出舌头;安塞尔·埃尔格特噘嘴;安塞尔·埃尔格特戴耳机。

Meanwhile, as traditional emoji expand beyond their Japanese roots, tech companies such as Apple, Microsoft and Google (all are voting members of Unicode) have become responsible for making cultural, and sometimes political, choices in determining which new emoji will make the cut.

与此同时,随着传统表情符号超越它们的日本起源,苹果、微软(Microsoft)和谷歌(Google)等科技公司(它们都是Unicode的投票成员)开始负责做出文化(有时是政治)选择,决定哪些新表情符号合格。

Some additions to the emoji repertoire are informed by experts: Unicode has consulted the Cornell Lab of Ornithology for bird emoji advice. Others are culled from “popular requests from online communities” and proposals submitted by the public.

新增加的表情符号参考了专家们的建议:Unicode向康奈尔鸟类学实验室(Cornell Lab of Ornithology)咨询鸟类表情符号建议。其他一些符号采集自“虚拟社区的普遍请求”以及公众提交的方案。

Companies have also made bids to influence the result, although Unicode says it rejects emojis “strongly associated with a particular brand.” Last year, the ad agency Havas London started a campaign on behalf of Durex, calling for a condom emoji. Cerveza Indio wants a dark beer emoji. Ballantine’s has championed a glass of whiskey. The rice company La Fallera suggested a paella emoji. (The whiskey and paella made the cut; both are coming on Tuesday.)

很多公司也争取影响最后的结果,不过Unicode称,它拒绝推出“与特定品牌具有密切联系的”表情符号。去年,广告公司Havas London开始为杜蕾斯(Durex)做推广,呼吁发布一个避孕套表情符号。Cerveza Indio想要一个黑啤表情符号。百龄坛(Ballantine’s)主张设计一款威士忌表情符号。稻米公司La Fallera建议推出一款平锅菜饭表情符号(威士忌和平锅菜饭获得批准;两款都将于周二推出)。

For the Olympics, Unicode recently considered encoding a rifle emoji alongside other sport-themed glyphs, but members voted it down. “When vendors looked at it, they didn’t see a lot of additional value in adding it,” said Mark Davis, a Unicode spokesman. “There’s already a firearm in Unicode.”

为了迎接奥林匹克运动会,Unicode最近考虑加入一个来福枪图标,以及其他一些以运动为主题的符号,但是被成员们否决了。“销售商进行考虑时,没有看到它能带来多大的额外价值,”Unicode的发言人马克·戴维斯(Mark Davis)说,“Unicode里本来就有枪支图标。”

That decision has helped stoke concerns that modern visual language is being shaped by the political or financial priorities of gigantic tech companies. While many don’t see the advantage of emojifying another gun, others wonder whether heightened scrutiny could lead to less idiosyncratic, less interesting characters.

那一决定让人们担心,现代视觉语言正在被大型科技公司从政治或财务角度进行塑造。虽然很多人并不觉得再做一个枪支符号有什么益处,但其他人担心更严格的审查可能会导致表情符号不够有特色、不够有趣。

“One of the things that make emoji fun is this quirky weird list that came about through accidents of history,” said Jeremy Burge, the founder of Emojipedia and a member of Unicode’s emoji subcommittee. “The bomb, the cigarette, the dripping syringe — it’s crazy to think that all of those would make it in today.”

“表情符号的一个有趣之处在于,这个古怪的列表是因为很多历史偶然事件形成的,”Emojipedia创始人、Unicode表情符号分委会成员杰里米·伯格(Jeremy Burge)说,“炸弹、香烟、滴血的注射器——现在想想,这些东西能进入列表,真是疯狂。”

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