“Um, uh, hello, Internet”
September 13, 2008
Here is an ad for ooVoo, an online video chat application.
It’s called “Emoticon Suicide.” It features three emoticons–Elaine, Hans, and Don–doing a three-way video chat.
Emoticon Hans, in the middle, laments having tried to “represent” us when we “needed” them. “There was even a time when you seemed to like us. When things were simpler, and we were just open parentheses and semicolons. Now, you all use video chat devices like this one. It’s just another nail in our coffin.” While Hans says this stuff, Elaine, in a chat box to his left, sobs uncontrollably, an emoticon in a puddle of her tears. Meanwhile Don tries holding back his anger.
They each proceed to commit suicide, one by one, in varying styles that reflect their emoticon-state.
Hans talks about “open parentheses” with nostalgia, recalling a simpler day, before humans could represent their own faces in communicating with each other, a feature of ooVoo that the application’s designers wish to advertise here. Parentheses-generated emoticons are dead with this new technology, standing in for a past phase in an evolution of communication technologies.