Here's one old TED video where the man who calls himself Rives tells rather uninspiring, astoundingly ordinary story (boy meets girl, it's complicated, etc. hush, nah nah-nah-nah, nah-nah-nah nah-nah) with a little help of these weird symbols known as emoticons.
When I first saw it - i was embarrassed. It was years before i started to write, but even then i thought it was a pitiful waste of form. Those emoticons weren't necessary to tell a story. It was a nice thing but nothing else. It was "meh". I've stumbled upon it once again few days ago and was puzzled. It was not bad - just underwhelmingly nothing special.
But it is a good example of wasting potential of the medium. Emoticons weren't used properly in this story. They were just a supplement to the traditional narrative. They were there to illustrate it - not to expand or diversify. There was no intention to explore that narrative in the realm of emoticons and express it using its possibilities.
Here's a thing: emoticons are incredible form of communication. There are so many interpretations for every sign. With its help you can draw emotional kaleidoscopes, frantic rollercoaster rides - you don't need to bend it into something coherent, something embroiled with straightforward narrative - you just need to embrace its major advantage - typographic depiction of emotional states and other things (such as "ponytail" or "dire state of things"). It cannot be instantly understood - some emoticons are easier to decipher, other are tougher to break, some are simply uncomprehensible. But that what makes them so powerful. It is always alien in some.
And the feeling that comes with attempts to understand alienating form of message - is interesting to say the least. The whole experience is worth trying because of that - trying to figure out what exactly this thing could mean. And the fact it is still underutilized is quite sad.
But worry no more!
Here's my stab at emoticon-driven narrative:
O_O o‑o O_o o_O o_o O-O
8‑D :‑o :O :× :× :o >:P :O x‑D :O :D D; :‑o :‑J
:b :‑p 8‑D :-* :‑O 8‑0 :‑b :-* DX XP :* X‑D 8‑D
:* :‑O 8‑0 D= :D :-0 D: D:< x‑p D: XP XP >:O D:< >:O
:O D: :‑p 8‑0 8‑0 :‑J :-* :O :‑O :‑o D:< :‑o X‑D D=
:b 8‑0 D:< 8‑D :D :* XP :D XP 8‑D :-* :D :* XP D=
:b :‑o D; :* :D :‑o :o 8‑D :-* D= X‑D X‑D D:< :o :-*
:O :‑J D:< :-* :* D: :D 8‑0 :-* :‑o :* :O :O :-* x‑p
:‑O :‑o :‑o XP D:< 8‑D XP :o 8‑0 :o >:O :‑o XP :-*
:‑J :* :‑o :‑p D= D:< D: :D :‑b >:P XP :‑o :* :-* D: :× :O
:O :b :O :D :D :-* 8‑0 8‑0 :D :‑o :‑O XP :× :‑o :* :-* :-* 8‑0
XP :-* :‑p X‑D XP 8‑0 :* :-* :-0 >:O X‑D D:< :D XP :-*
D= :D >:O >:O XP :o :‑o XP :‑O :D :D :‑o :b >:O 8‑D :‑o
X‑D :‑J :‑o :× :‑o :‑p XP XP :‑O :* XP :-* :‑o :O XP :o
:D :D :O :o :o :O :-* XP :* 8‑0 8‑D D= :-* :‑O :-*
:‑O D= >:O :‑O :D :D :× 8‑0 8‑0 D= >:P :× :-* 8‑0 :*
:‑p :‑o :‑J :O 8‑D D:< X‑D :D :‑o D:< :× :‑J :-* X‑D
D= >:P :D D= :‑b 8‑0 D: :O D:< :D :O X‑D X‑D :* :-*
XP :‑O XP D:< D:< :‑o D:< >:P :D :-* X‑D D: :‑O :-*
D:< :O :D :‑o :b D= :* :O :-* D:< :-* XP :* D= >:O
:‑o :* :O :D :‑o >:O >:O D:< 8‑0 8‑0 :-* :O XP XP
:D :o 8‑D X‑D :* :‑o :D :D >:O :‑p :-* :* :b :‑p :‑O
:b D: :* :‑o XP :-* :D XP D:< :-* 8‑0 :‑p D:< :*
O_O o‑o O_o o_O o_o O-O
***It is completely uninteligible and definitely makes no sense. Even though i've tried hard to make it coherent. I've used a limited set of emoticons to make things simpler to compose but alas it is still not exactly there yet. Originally the piece was based on a short film "Ten Minutes Older" and was a tale of emotions expressed while sleeping told in every possible direction but preferably backwards. Anyway - needs more cowbell.