There's something about language that has always fascinated me. It's likely why I was drawn to recruiting in the first place. You have to be able to paint a picture of the possible, find a way to communicate why a role you are trying to fill is the right role for the candidate you're wooing. Using language well is an art, and it's one that can make you a much stronger recruiter if you pay attention to it. And our language is changing at the moment.
Language During a Virus
The written word has seen a comeback over the past decade - texting, chats, DMs, etc etc. The only people who seem to use their phone as, well, a phone, are your parents (or, grandparents in some cases). That's because with writing, there is more freedom. You can do so very much with it. For example, the way the poet William Carlos Williams painted pictures with words.
"a red wheel/ barrow/ glazed with rain/ water/ beside the white/ chickens"
It becomes a still from a movie, a captured moment. What makes that even more fascinating - it’s just a series of lines and curves. It's a code that you have to be trained in - part of the tribe from birth or be taught by someone who's already.
We are all of us communicating in symbols, in coded languages.
Cave paintings became scratches on papyrus, hieroglyphs, sonnets and rock lyrics. Always communicated in symbols. And now? Now we are online as never before, as one. Locked within our respective homes, finding an increasing community online. And the language we're using there? It's changing. Language comes to reflect the culture - there are signals in the noise that point to how we're feeling.
Digital Hieroglyphs on Digital Walls
Horizon Media has come out with an interesting study on this trend. They looked at emoji usage. Emojis have emerged as a new, near-universal language. The price of entry is low, the tribe is global, and the language is evolving quickly.
And our usage is shifting. That's interesting, too - because language use tends to reflect how the tribe is feeling. And right now? Well, it’s not a huge surprise - we’re feeling a bit concerned. Take a look at the infographic below - what’s rising, vs. what’s falling. The things we talk about, when we talk about pandemic - love, prayers, confusion (I hear you West Virginia). We’re less inclined to wave the flag, and more inclined to plead and pray. New emojis are emerging - “Medical Mask,” “Microbe,” and “Angry Face With Symbols.” We’re finding community in communication, painting words with pictures.
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