Alex Goldmark and his girlfriend Liza decided that for 30 days, they’d communicate exclusively using emoji to see what would happen with their relationship.
In an interview with New Tech City on WNYC, the couple explained that before they began the experiment, they did their research, downloading any and all apps that offered emoji. Instead of text, they used WeChat, because there were more stickers.
Alex picked a boy in a helmet to represent him. Liza picked a girl as an emoji to represent her.
"It was important that we figured out how to define our vocabulary," Alex said during the interview, noting that he was not a visual thinker but that his girlfriend was extremely artsy.
The notable case of miscommunication was when the couple was supposed to meet up for drinks following a work day.
Liza ended up having to change her plans last minute because of a death of a friend of the family. Using only emoji, she tried to express that to Alex.
It didn’t go over well.
In the interview with WNYC, which first aired last February but was aired again this past week, they explained:
Liza: We had made plans earlier in the day and I arrived at my destination only to encounter a friend who was in a situation that I thought might not be the best for you to come into.
Alex: I was confused by the skull.
Liza: It works best when you can be literal with the icons. I sent you a pair of girls and an older woman’s face and a skull and a sad face and then an Alex face (boy with helmet) with the red circle with the strike through and then a bus and then drinks. This is me saying “Alex an older friend of my family has died, we are having a girls night, don’t come to drinks.”
Alex: Yeah I didn’t get that.
The couple showed WNYC this exchange:
At the end of 30 days, Liza felt that she appreciated getting an affectionate emoji from Alex rather than a text that simply said “I love you.” She said the emoji felt “fuller” when it came to emotions but that it was nearly impossible trying to talk about anything logistical.
"You were better at flirting," she added.
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