my Singaporean friends, the first I ever downloaded was LINE, the instant messaging app that is popular in Japan but apparently not in Singapore.
"I don't even know anyone who uses LINE!" a friend.
Actually, LINEfans in Singapore, but WhatsApp has more users worldwide than LINE. According to the most I could find online, the number of LINE users worldwide crossed the 100 million mark in January. On the other hand, WhatsApp claimed 200 million users as of April.
In Singapore, all my smartphonefriends use WhatsApp. Some have LINE, but they use it, because "everyone else is on WhatsApp." I suppose with any messaging app, who else is using it, and not your personal .
I use both WhatsApp and LINE,with my Singaporean friends, and with my Japanese friends. I prefer LINE to WhatsApp, because of its wide variety of cute , emoji and expressive Japanese . There are stickers featuring all sorts of characters, from classics like Doraemon to the original LINE characters. They any conversation, and can at times be great for explanations.
Instead of typing, "I'm so happy I could dance the whole day away!" I tap on a sticker ofjumping . Rather than to think of what to say to comfort a friend, I select a sticker of a hug, then try to her up with words. When I use a sticker of stones raining down upon , the bear, the comic effect makes me smile.
I've tried persuading my friends to download LINE, but most remain. To me, the stickers are the . How could anyone resist such lovely illustrations? However, my friends find the stickers childish.
"Besides, isn't itto have to look through so many stickers just to find the one you want?" said a friend, as I showed him my sticker collection and the thousands more in the "sticker shop."
He. A picture , but it probably takes me more time to find the right sticker, than to the words I need to express myself. Have I become so stickers that I can't my emotions?
This might seem like an, but with the of smartphones, perhaps we shouldn't their long-term effects on us. I've seen children their fingers across the pages of books because they thought the books "worked" in the same way as tablets or smartphones. I hope that, for all the convenience of smartphones and messaging apps, they never replace real-life human interaction. No matter how adorable stickers are, nothing beats a real smile and hug.
The Japan Times ST: November 1, 2013