Little did Shigetaka Kurita in 1999 realise that he would be the creator of the fastest growing language of the world. As a visual language, emojis have far eclipsed the Egyptian hieroglyphics. From electronic communication to marketing campaigns. Emojis have entered every phase of life. Though originally most popular amongst teenagers, this has entered the field of academic and business communication. So much so that the Oxford Dictionaries Word of the Year is a pictograph officially called the ‘Face with Tears of Joy’ emoji.
It has always been very difficult to express feelings succinctly in words and evoke interest. The emoji has enabled people to communicate feelings without exploring the need for the correct word. It is quick, ubiquitous and expressive. Currently there are more than 1851 emoji characters and counting. It is a standardised set of characters that is available on iOS, Android, Windows and OS X platforms. While the artwork for each emoji character varies by platform, the meaning of each symbol remains the same. Emojis continue to grow all the time. The recent iOS 10.0.1 included over 70 new emojis. In iOS 10, Apple has made it even easier to use emojis with an all-new replacement and predictive system that replaces key words and phrases with relevant emoji characters. Although a full-featured search functionality is still not available, the new emoji replacement ability turns text messages into emoji-filled communications that are fun alternatives to basic blocks of text.
The increased use of emojis comes from the fact that the attention span of the average adult is no more than a couple of minutes. A study from Microsoft discovered people lose concentration after only eight seconds—that’s one second faster than a goldfish. The human brain is wired to understand images; we process visual information 60,000 times faster than text. Thus, visual communication is more easily registered.
Such a new and exciting mode of communication is increasingly being adopted in healthcare communication. It may especially be useful in communicating ever changing emotional status of people and to notify health status. Whether these emojis actually help communication is very hotly debated.
The ones which are commonly used with a universally understood meaning are useful. Though they help to reduce ambiguity, there is always the risk of misunderstanding. Emojis are better when they are used with written messages. Emoji only texts have their own problems, when the interpreted meaning maybe completely different from the intended meaning. There is also a restriction in expression of subtle nuances or strengths of emotion that we experience. Age, gender, ethnicity and cultural difference may also hinder communication.
Usually healthcare professionals are accused of being late adopters to any new technology. There is a reason for this. Healthcare professionals are not paid to be hip or cool. Unless something new is robust and time tested, it is difficult to adopt, as there is always a risk of failure and the results may be catastrophic. In medical practice, communication is key and every effort needs to be made for better two-way communication with clients. Emojis have taken communication to the next level. But this needs to be used with caution to avoid misunderstandings. However, there is some place where things can be started. Clients and providers may decide to communicate with pre-decided emojs. Though this kind of communication will not be detailed, it may point in the right direction by alerting providers whether there is or no need for intervention.
“Ubuntu ngumtu ngabanye abantu” (“A person is a person through other people”)- African proverb.
The philosophy of Ubuntu derives from a Nguni word, Ubuntu meaning “the quality of being human.” Ubuntu means love, truth, peace, happiness, eternal optimism, inner goodness, etc. Ubuntu is the essence of a human being. It is based on the eternal philosophy of “oneness” – an understanding of the interconnectedness of humans as a way of life. It emphasises that we are essentially social beings and our wellbeing stems from living in trusting communities that thrives in the spirit of willing participation, unquestioning cooperation, warmth, openness, and personal dignity.
Success of any strategy in healthcare is dependent on creating communities that interact, help and assist each other at all times. The archaic pharmacologic and procedure based healthcare management is now giving way to comprehensive care, which relies heavily on prevention, awareness, education and rehabilitation. It has traditionally been extremely difficult to build a robust and sustainable business model for comprehensive care. Coupled with this are age old myths and ignorance which have hindered inclusiveness in healthcare. There has also been a shift in family dynamics and population migration, needing adjustments. War, strife, poverty, displacement, and a lack of trust has stretched resources to its limits. There is thus an urgent need to build communities that give hope.
The last decade has seen the meteoric rise of the internet and mobile phones, making connectivity amongst humans much easier. People are much more empowered and aware of the world around and the world has become a much smaller place to live in. Our communities are not necessarily just the people around us, but we can relate to a much wider audience.
The internet and digital technology is today not just helping people manage diseases, but also is useful in building robust frameworks for prevention, awareness, education and rehabilitation in illness. Digital technology is being used in education, agriculture, business and newer methods are being explored to alleviate poverty and thus improve the lives of people.
Some of the stumbling blocks of healthcare have been accessibility, education, two-way communication and social determinants in the form of poverty, inadequate housing and unemployment. Building thriving, connected communities, mutual cooperation and pooling of resources will invest in people and bring about long lasting change.
A few months back my dad bought me an Apple watch to celebrate some of my accomplishments over the past year. Though I was delighted, I didn`t find much use for it and barely wore it, except on special occasions. I thought it was just a device to make me feel cool and show off a bit. The fact I could call or text from a watch was a worthy show off point for me so I thought that was enough. But it never really had any purpose.
Until recently, when I went abroad on holiday. Going on holiday abroad can be tiresome in parts. So much walking to see places, catch flights etc. Unless of course you hire a car, but that's not the point. It probably sounds like I'm writing two different blogs at the moment. Well let's see where the two subjects connect.
Walking this much in the heat and not so flat terrain would obviously leave you burning vast amounts of calories. You don't realise how much you have worked until you open the activity app on your watch and find you have lost about 300 calories just from sightseeing. Your eyes widen in amazement and you start getting excited. It surely motivates me to exercise more knowing what you can achieve with just a few hours of walking.
Recording exercise is very important because it keeps track of the calories burnt, weight loss, distance of exercise and much more. This is very important because it gives a feel good effect and is extremely motivating.
I now plan to use my watch to its fullest potential. Not just to show off. I now realise it can do a lot of things that help me. Most importantly, it motivates me to exercise. I mean anywhere. The Apple Watch and I`m sure other wearables is a good device with lots of capabilities including recording fitness. If you think that going on holiday makes you unfit, think again.
Author - Rona Bhattacharya is a 11-year-old school student in the UK. She is an avid blogger, published author and poet.She is an accomplished dancer and singer.She is an endurance swimmer and a PADI certified SCUBA diver. She has been the Sports Ambassador of her school and won the Excellence Award for being the best student. Being very conscious of social issues, she has organised fundraisers and has swum 22 miles, the length of the English Channel in the swimming pool for Diabetes UK to raise awareness for children with diabetes. She is a keen actress and has recently performed in the Edinburgh Fringe Festival