LINE messenger/chat/video chat application has the world buzzing with sticker-mania. Asian markets are the hottest messenger sticker users at the time of this post, but that is also where the greater part of the world population happens to reside.
Right from the start I can tell you that as a Westerner I didn’t get it… for about 2 years! I was working in Thailand where LINE App has been a must-have communication tool since its inception and I was being bombarded by what I initially wrote off as ‘silly stickers’. It had already been hard enough adapting to the idea of text messaging as the primary means of communication with my $700 phone – making it a glorified typewriter – when I was convinced talking was just so much easier. But in spite of trying to adapt my speech into a text blurb, my detailed and sometimes long-winded attempts at dialogue – I call it diatext – were consistently returned with a few stickers, sometimes only one. “OKAY” and ‘thumbs-up’ graphics being the most common.
… a new level of tight communication which supplements rapid response in business and social communications.
I was in stubborn denial…
In fact the people I was communicating with were not teenagers or some social clique; these stickers were coming from people in high positions, from Professors, Directors of companies, Doctors, Management; all walks of life. This is not a fad or craze for your kids. It is a new level of tight communication which supplements rapid response in business and social communications. I just didn’t give it a chance at first, I didn’t really look at the practice as a whole and didn’t really look ‘at’ stickers beyond branding them as a silly shortcut for lazy people.
And then the proverbial light went on … I was getting the message, there really was no need for an ongoing exchange. The stickers had the basic information in a ‘snapshot’, the conclusion as it were. Sometimes with a label and sometimes just the expression or scenario it depicts.
As I write this I can see the faces of so many of my ‘in-the-flesh’ friends back home in North America and many of my Facebook Groups friends pooh-poohing the idea. I did that. Then somewhere along the line it clicked for me, after I got over that internal hurdle that interferes with so many of us moving forward with the times. I am not a master of the smartphone keyboard, and I quickly began to appreciate the thriftiness of using stickers. That appreciation has grown to include the freedom they allow for quick communication without having to noticeably interrupt a current task or activity. They facilitate multi-tasking in business and social scenarios, in fact stickers enable a non-disruptive overlap of both if necessary.
Sticker sets are exploding onto the digital communication scene like a confetti storm of a global scale.
I am so pleased that I get it! The number of stickers and the moods, emotions, and graphic responses they cover leave very little unexplored; sticker sets are exploding onto the digital communication scene like a confetti storm of a global scale. Make no mistake, that means “THE” communications scene; the way of communication going forward. They have incidentally also ignited a sudden economic boon in the communications world of almost unfathomable financial value. Other social media giants were soon caught up in the huge financial tsunami stickers have spawned – which I’d say is due mostly to LINE App. If you want to read a compelling story, check out LINE’s young and amazing history and the storm it created recently going live on the NYSE and again on the Tokyo Stock Exchange (article in’The Japan Times’).
Certainly text dialogue will never leave the mix entirely, but sometimes a sticker conveys everything needed and gets right to the point with no need to spend additional time just connecting by other means. In this era of increasing instantaneity many more things are happening at once than ever before and we have to find ways to manage that demand and the pressure it puts on us.
Stickers, particularly LINE App stickers, have done something else too … creating a marketplace for designing and selling your own stickers.