People can now wear emoticons on their fingers, thanks to Chao & Eero Jewel, indicating just how universal IM-speak has become.
The Finnish jeweler has crafted several silver rings to look like smiley faces and happily squinting “carat” eyes, as well as exclamation and question points. Anyone familiar with Internet culture could instantly recognize these symbols and deduce the wearer’s mood even if they don’t share a language.
Chao & Eero’s product highlights the worldwide prevalence of uniquely Internet-based language, created and spread by the growing prevalence of texting, IM and email in our lives.
The Oxford dictionary recently added the abbreviations OMG, BFF, and LOL to its lexical canon, signaling just how important such terms have become in online and mobile communication. The heart symbol also made it into the dictionary as a word.
Other terms, like “troll,” “hack” and “surf” to name a couple, have taken on new meanings since the Web was born and are now used in common speech to describe various online activities. Cult sites like icanhascheeseburger.com continue to spawn new phrases, such “O RLY” and “SRSLY,” which then make their way into texting and messaging-speak.
If online communication continues to evolve in this direction, it will be interesting to watch this symbolic, universal language develop and make its way into unexpected aspects of art and culture.