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Why the Cartwheel Emoji is My Favorite

Everyone has a cluster of go-to emojis that you use without a second thought. Personally, mine are the crying-laughing face, the smiling cat face, the thumbs up, and the upside down smiley face. But my favorite emoji isn’t one of my most frequently used. Oh no. Like curse words, its power diminishes with continual use. This emoji is one that is best used in specific situations. It is versatile, yet specialized. Funny, yet snarky. Genuine, yet sarcastic. The cartwheel emoji is one of the most underappreciated emojis. I’d even go as far to argue that it is the emoji that can convey the most nuance. It says, “Look at me! I’m so carefree! Or am I?” For example:

Am I being serious? Joking? Passive aggressive? Ironic? Facetious?

Then I realized that everyone I text probably doesn’t read into the imperceptible subtleties the cartwheel has to offer. How much can we communicate visually? Texting has so much room for misinterpretation because of the absence of verbal cues, but does adding a picture really fix that? Emojis are interesting because they are a whole form of conversation without actual language. We attach meaning to each image in order to talk, kind of like returning to hieroglyphics. It makes sense that in an age of instant communication we’d go even further from text talk into not even using words and the fact a whole society can agree on a meaning for an emoji is amazing. Like language, in order to participate, you have to participate in the meaning created. The meaning of the emojis can even gain new meaning over time, like in the cases of the peach and eggplant emojis. Overall, emojis have become so entwined in our culture that they’re now a part of fashion and digital media, like The Emoji Movie. Of course, talking face-to-face will probably always be the most effective means of eliminating misunderstanding during communication, but texting shouldn’t be written off as meaningless. The combination of text and visuals creates a unique form of communication that meshes language with cultural and social cues that are implemented through the emojis.

So, I propose that we more thoroughly utilize the intricacies of text by implementing a more common use of the cartwheel emoji. It’s not just an emoji, but a celebration of technology, language, and culture. Or is that just me being sarcastic? You’ll never know.

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A lover of fountain pens, cookie dough, and cats, Macey Howell is always open to talking about books, movies, and Marvel Comics. Originally from Murfreesboro, TN, Macey moved up to Belmont to study Publishing and is currently in her freshman year. She is an awkward dancer, but will enthusiastically and unabashedly jam out to Come on Eileen and Take on Me.
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