What are stickers? How do I use them?? Why should I use them???
Preview image from my App Store stickers.
If you are asking yourself these questions, this post is for you :) Stickers have been very popular in certain cultures for a few years (mostly Asian, to my knowledge). My friends and I love using stickers... and honestly chatting without them feels noticeably emptier!
So it took me a while to realize there are still many people who have not yet gotten to know the wonderful world of stickers. I was further surprised to find that I couldn't find many good explanations online, so I decided to make one ;)
To the sticker rescue!
What Are Stickers?
Stickers are essentially little graphics that you send within a chat. They typically involve a drawn character conveying some action or expression. They have a transparent background so they look like they are floating within your chat, turning it into an illustrated conversation :)
While there are many types of stickers out there, I think the successful ones are those that are expression enhancers rather than as a pretty picture to show someone. Great stickers can either exaggerate your text, or replace text completely. They often put it better than words can.
Example of my stickers in an iMessage chat on iPad.
How Do I Use Stickers?
Every chat platform has its own methods, but essentially you just send them like you would a text, photo, or gif. Many platforms, including LINE and iMessage, have app stores where you can download sticker packs. Some of these are official stickers (like LINE's Brown and Cony), some are made by big companies (Disney has many adorable sets), and some are made by individuals just like me and you!
It's been fun to see chat platforms start to get more creative with stickers. For example, in iMessage you can now stick them on top of texts, photos and other stickers. To me, this makes up for Apple being so late to the sticker game :)
Here's how to find them in iMessage:
Why Should I Use Stickers?
Stickers help make communication more clear and more fun. With just text, there's a lot of room for miscommunication. Without visual and voice cues, we can easily misread what someone has said... even with the simplest messages! How many times has some replied, "Ok." and you're thinking, "What does that mean?? Is she not excited? Maybe she's mad? Well that's passive aggressive?? AHHH!!" And it turns out everything is fine, we're just being crazy (see, can you guess with what intonation I'm saying that, without seeing my face and without me adding an emoji?).
Emojis have helped, but stickers and GIFs really take it to the next level. Not only does it make expressions clear, but the exaggeration also makes it funnier and more engaging. Great stickers can help in a wide range of ways:
From casual to serious, stickers can help improve our often clumsy world of digital communication.
And no it's not just a frivolous trend or just for kids. Serious publications and organizations are taking note too, from the Wall Street Journal to prestigious investment firm Andreeson Horowitz. I especially appreciate the observations in this post from Andreeson Horowitz by Connie Chen (hey another Asian female... are we the certified experts? ;p).
You're now all caught up on stickers! This post might have been more in-depth than you'd expect for "just stickers," but I really do believe in their importance. It's just like how many people didn't get emojis a few years ago, and now they're practically a common language. So I hope this was all helpful to somebody in understanding chat stickers!
Note: This post is based off thoughts and research I gathered for my Chat Stickers Skillshare class :) I wanted this information to be available in a public blog post too.