When Show Becomes Tell
What if spoken communication was replaced by self-projected icons and emojis?
This started out as a 30 minute warm-up exercise, expanding on a ‘yesterday thought’ of a supplanted phone device culture, where non-verbal chromatic displays, with icons and emojis projected around our bodies replace the majority of spoken communication. The implications of this are many, but I think we will become less human and more data-driven than even now if the medium of our communications increasingly shifts and evolves from the aural to the visual. I just hope the personal finally displaces the commercial in any future post-capitalist world.
From a writer’s perspective, such a world makes emotional ‘shows versus tells’ almost indistinguishable for the majority of the points of view which may be utilised. In fact, this fusion would become a necessity, since traditional verbal dialogue would be reduced to the bare minimum between any created pro- or ant- tagonists.
Ensuring a story was told in its full richness and/or reached its intended audience, particularly within the young adult market, would entail new forms of visual language being adopted and propagated by authors. Think turbocharged GIF memes interbred with kanji characters. Books with legacy words would die, or at least be hybrids of both. I agree it’s a difficult concept to grapple with, but not to be dismissed out of hand. Try looking at a TikTokking teenager’s phone messaging apps (if you’re allowed to enter their private vault) if you don’t believe we’re not already veering towards this.
As usual, the piece ended up much longer than planned, as I temporarily diverted my thought-flow onto the screen. It also surprised me with its insistence on taking a poetic prose form - or perhaps even a ‘tum-te-tum-te-tum’ beat poem, given a reworked line format.
But you be the judge. Go with the flow and enjoy.
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