There is always an underlying human aspect behind everything we create. We can name any technological advancement, and there will always be a corresponding element from human nature. These tools are often better at these things that humans by nature. Behind the wheel is movement. Behind the hammer is strength. Behind the gun is the ability to kill or hunt.
Computers first appeared when humans realized that a machine can do complicated calculations for them effortlessly and easily. It did not meant that the machine would think instead of them — it followed the instructions of a human to solve a problem that humans were facing. But as Lev Manovich mentioned in his book, even the first of these computers were able to process images (Jacquard’s loom using punch cards to weave). This ability to process images was the key for communications between humans through the computer.
Human tools are usually better at what humans do without them, that is why they are made in the first place. Are computers better at communication then us?
In some aspects, they are not. Text messages cannot carry more emotions than the sender has put into them. Emails are only letters displayed on a computer screen. It seems like that without images, computers are simply converting the written form of language. Indeed, they are more comprehensible than many people’s handwritings, but wouldn’t that personal touch a takeaway from communication?
But using only text can cause some confusion (I feel like this illustrates my point the best).
However, if we add images, everything changes. Even in journalism, it is well known that adding pictures to articles clears up their meanings. Computers are able to do much more than just displaying images. With their use, we can create, edit, publish and replicate these images. Using the internet, we are able to access online repositories and even search by only using the pictures.
The first appearance of images were the smileys, which were proposed as early as 1982.
The era of social media made way to this type of communication. Not only are we using the smiley in its written format, we are using the picture form with many permutations.
We use them everyday in our internet conversations — and they make the way we express ourselves clearer and more comprehensive.