First Click: Are new iMessage stickers useful or annoying as hell?

September 16th, 2016

22

Sticker protocol is a peculiar thing. I love placing stickers on the bottom of skateboards or the tops of laptops. They’re also useful on city light poles and toilet stalls when it’s time to guerrilla market your new band. On the other hand, there’s a special place in hell for stores that put ultra-sticky, impossible-to-remove stickers on household goods. Same for laptop makers who insist on slathering the palm-rest with NVIDIA, Intel, Energy Star, and Windows branding. But put that Microsoft flag into the fleecy paws of a ninja cat riding into battle atop a raging white unicorn and you’ve won me back. Like I said, peculiar.

I’m not sure what to make of the sudden burst of stickers that now dominate my Messages timeline after updating my iPhone to iOS 10. My colleague Sam Byford in Japan, a Line and sticker fanatic, tells me to get used to it because glitter and flair is the future of messaging. "Once you get used to them," he says, "they're a quicker way to express complex thoughts." Tom Warren meanwhile, a British man living in Britain, is not amused. "%$##$%@$!!#," he says while impotently shaking his meat pie at the kids on his lawn.

I’m torn, personally. Facebook Messenger has stickers but few of my friends use it. Most are on the sticker-less WhatsApp service or iMessage. That makes the new Messages app my first real exposure to sticker communications. I expect the sudden glut of imagery, GIFs, and fireworks to find a more modest equilibrium as early enthusiasm wanes. Yeah, it’s annoying at times, and incongruous — but it’s also fun, at least until one my friends discover the new Grammar Snob sticker pack and starts red-lining my chats.

What about you? Stickers in communication apps; yes or no?

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