Have you noticed those little sports emojis all over Twitter? The rest of the sports world has. And they’re going crazy for it.
Just prior to Super Bowl 50, professional sports teams and large sporting events started developing special little emojis that pop up after someone uses their hashtag. They’re icons like footballs, team mascots, trophies and the like.
His tweets got a huge amount of engagement - retweets and comments - and things took off from there. Summer 2016 has brought a full-fledged campaign to get the emoji messages on television, billboards, and iceboxes where drivers of all kinds can see them.
South Carolina has been struggling with just how to control their drunk driving problem for years.
In 2013, they considered lowering the BAC limit from .08 to .05. Critics were quick to point out the flaws in the plan - i.e., clearly citizens were already unskilled at knowing when they were over the .08 limit, so lowering the limit would only increase punishments and have very little effect on prevention. People would still die.
Instead of hammering home the importance of sobering up before driving home from a day of tailgating, the proposal focused on incarceration.
Three years later, enter Trooper Bob and his emoji language.
It’s no coincidence that South Carolina was the first to stumble upon the creative intermingling of emoji and public safety. Any state with one of the highest DUI rates in the country will stop what they’re doing and take note.
As part of the process of understanding their astronomical DUI rates, officials noticed a connection between alcohol consumption at sporting events and drunk driving. By Fall, just in time football season, the emojis will be on gas pumps and be printed on high school football tickets around the state.
“At the end of the day, we all want to save lives,” said Cpl Bill Rhyne, spokesperson for the Greenville Highway Patrol. “I don't care how we do it, whether it's through emojis, Facebook, Twitter or talking to people.”
For the time being, emojis appear to be a successful tactic. One can’t help but wonder what’s next in the shift to visual communication in the world of sports and beyond.
Perhaps the ancient Egyptians had it right all along. Have we been led astray with our silly alphabets?
I wonder what the hieroglyph for “football” is ….
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