Emojis rush the stage at SXSW 2016

Emoji as a language is making headlines across the globe and making waves in the SXSW Interactive 2016 PanelPicker submissions. With over 18 sessions on the use, relevance and future impact of emojis there is an upswell of insight and interest to be experienced.

PanelPicker went live last week and it quickly became clear that there is a lot of interest in these cute little images that we readily insert into texts, tweets, emails and social media messages. Emojis, not to be confused with emoticons – are pictographs. They are stand alone colorful graphics, not images derived from combining text punctuation like the smiley face ” :0) ”

While there are over a dozen of panel pitches that include this topic – I will share a shortlist of a few of my favorites and encourage you to vote for them if you’d like to see this topic make the stage at SXSW 2016.

The multiple sessions can be split into a few broad categories which go from the informational to actionable and I’ve selected 2 from each category that I’m voting for:

Branding Opportunities:

Text is Dead: Emerging Visual Languages Online – Helping attendees understand “what are the 10 ways brands and individuals best make use of emerging visual communication strategies?” is the goal of Vine star Nick Mastodon and branding expert Greg Swan in their SXSW pitch. Join them by supporting their pitch for a conversation about the devolution of the written word, what’s next in the disruption of visual communication, and what skills individuals and brands need to be ready for 2016 trends in visual communication.

Emoji & Branded Content:New Mobile/Social Currency – presented from an expert panel including Evan Wray, Angie Kozleski, Chris Chesebro, and Dilina Fernando, attendees will learn how major global brands like L’Oreal, Ford Motor Company and Miller Coors have used branded content and emoji to build an emotional and engaging connection with younger consumers, while crushing traditional advertising KPI.  They will share how to make emoji and branded content a part of your digital identity, and how creating emoji alone isn’t enough.

Changing the Conversation:

Will There Ever [Be an] Emoji in the Dictionary?  Presented by Katy Steinmetz of Time Magazine and of Rebekah Otto of Dictionary.com this session will dive into the ways emojis are making an impact on the English language and explore whether emojis will one day have a chance at finding a permanent home in the dictionary, or if their use be a passing fad.

The secret life of emojis: are words under attack? Bizhan Govindji will be taking a look at how emojis are changing the English language. For his pitch at SXSW he’ll explore the emoji invasion in four ways. The 4th I find particularly interesting “4) How emoji-swapping can alter meaning instantly.” and will lead to answering one of the key questions he’s identified for this session “Why is the sassy pink girl the most versatile emoji, and how many different meanings can she have? (Hint: it’s at least 5)

Reshaping Technology:

Why Your Keyboard Won’t Have Any Letters On It  – Join Jeffrey Wong and Vayshali Bhakta as they discuss  why the traditional lettered keyboard will become the “alternate” keyboard and why a menu of images and animations will be the norm.

“Good crack”: context matters in Social Listening – As conversation changes online so too will the tools and approaches needed to identify and understand these image based conversations. Global social conversations are shifting from text to emojis and image shares. Text-based conversations are moving away from English to local languages interspersed with text-speak. As a result, Social Listening needs to become more nuanced to be able to identify, understand and derive meaningful insights. Being able to analyze these new sources of online content, including visuals, means needing to understand where people are posting and what that really means within the local market. Context and content matters more than ever before. Text analytics alone will no longer help you understand online conversations. Join me ( Jackie Cuyvers) as I share how tools, tech and processes are evolving to help brands, marketers and communicators better identify and understand the use of emojis in both a global and local context.

vote for Jackie Cuyvers