“Millennials today want to say everything without saying anything at all,” says Laksh Fomra, at 24 years a millennial himself. And what better way to say a lot by saying nothing at all than with a emoji. And even better if you can bring these atom-sized animations out of the smartphone.
Fomra thought of just this with PostMoji, his three-month-old startup tries to act as a conduit between the erstwhile postcard and the new-age emoji.
What, you might ask. Well in simple terms, Fomra found a well to sell emojis and make them a commodity. “We live in the virtually fuelled digital era, and as convenient as technology has made our lives it’s has made expression rather meaningless.,” Fomra says.
“Expression today, is a mere message, a status, a caption, a picture. It’s truly confined inside our phones, because in the millennial world, expression is valued as long as it’s effortless,” he adds and states that thehardcore millennials are no longer used to receiving anything in their name. This is where Postmoji comes in. When you post an emoji via the Mumbai-based startup, you send a large cut out of a familiar emoji along with a personal message of 250 words.
Fomra, who formerly led the marketing department for Haptik, says the importance of emoji struck him recently and with some research he was convinced of their pervasiveness. “Emoji transcend geographical boundaries and their merchandise value is huge,” he says, and adds in the same breath that this penetration is “ridiculous” but “a glaring reality”. He was in a way proved right when their The Emoji Movie came along.
Starting PostMoji is his way of getting people from this generation to start writing, however meagre the words might be. Needless to say then that the response has been largely positive. There are six emoji you can choose from — the heart eyes, the celebration emoji, the poop face, the sorry face, the laughter face and the birthday smash. Choose your pick and write your message.
So which of these is the most popular? Fomra says it is the one with the “heart eyes”. “They look a bit different from the one you use on the phone,” he says, adding that the birthday cake smash and the celebration emoji are in-house inventions.
What remains heartening for this Mumbai-based entrepreneur is the tendency of the people to use this platform to send a positive message. “Once a man from Australia had proposed his girlfriend, who stayed in Delhi with these emoji. I was dying of anticipation,” Fomra recollects with fondness and relief in his voice. He also remembers how a girl had sent an emoji to her would be brother-in-law with the message, “Welcome to the family”.
“These give me immense validation,” says the graduate from the Symbiosis Institute of Media & Communication.
In times when a lot is expected to be told and understood without saying much, sending an emoji perhaps does make the cut. And for those who are still lamenting about this new-age technology-driven lexicon that is bereft of words, Fomra insists he is “on their team”. His purpose is simple — to will the generation to express themselves again. Using emoji then is merely a tool. “It is always more about the message.”