Wednesday, 16 April 2008

text gestures

Most of us know how to transmit a hug by text. You just write the person's name (or alias, or initial) with multiple balanced brackets around it. So if you wanted to hug me, but were too far away to do so, you would transmit this to my phone or email, or put it in the Comments:


Or if you thought I needed a stronger hug, or you were feeling particularly huggy, you might do this:

This gesture-by-text is widely understood, and has the effect of making the person feel hugged, so that one appropriate response is 'thank you'.

I think it's interesting that it has a personal object, not just the recipient as such, as is the case with a smiley, but a particular person specified by name. So, supposing my sister N had lost her phone, but is in the pub with a friend, it would be possible for me to transmit a hug by texting her friend as follows:
Please hand this to N: ((((N))))

which would probably result in the friend handing over the phone. Or if I merely sent this:

the friend might do the same, but would also have the option of physically hugging N on my behalf, although they would probably still show her the phone.

Here's a question: in cultures where it is usual to bow, or to put one's hands together, are there ways of transmitting these gestures textually? How, if so?


Johanna said...

Interesting question. How about

]]]H[[[ for a bow and
]]]]]H[[[[[ for a deeper bow?

or does this look more "bow-ey"?


Unless that appears to be more "namaste-y"...

La Tanguerita said...

There is a letter in cyrillic alphabet that looks this way:
"Г". Wouldn't it be something for a bow?
Oh bummer.
Do you think it'd be possible to flip it?
Never mind, found another one. Look:-))

msHedgehog said...

Is the letter in the middle the person bowing, or the person bowed to? I think it's ambiguous, and maybe not necessary. With a hug it's clear, because the person is enclosed in the brackets, like arms.

I quite like just ][ for a bow.

What we really need is some input from our Japanese/Korean/Chinese friends. Anyone out there?