AANS Neurosurgeon | Volume 29, Number 1, 2020


Smiley Faces Pretend to be Your Friend

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I’m old school R&B, but Drake has a point when he complains about fake people. Click Like or thumbs up and OMG if it’s really lit, hit the Heart or as @champagnepapi raps “fake love” it. It is more efficient to pop up an emoji than to use words. Posting without several emojis risks a low view count, but godspeed if you choose the wrong one. In that case, it is better to play safe and use a smiley face. We are developing cyber disconnection syndrome while suffering trigger fingers. So much time is invested staring at our phones, the only way to check how we feel is to snap a selfie and do a neurological self-exam on that selfie. All the while, you are hoping the rumor that social media staves off dementia is true. Soon we will revise the mental status exam to include a social media skills score. Cherish the day when the neuro emoji emerges. Think how quick the consults will be.

I miss the harmony of the O’Jays and their straight up warning that “Smiling faces sometimes tell lies.”  The truth is I don’t remember my friends’ actual smiles, but I sure as heck recognize their headless cackling avatars. Our real and online personas are merging, signaling the demise of the digital split personality. No more hiding behind the glass screens, no more fake smileys. Let us all raise a glass to authentic clicking and an end to pretend friends. It will be worth it, even if the post auto-deletes after 10 seconds. Besides, it’s good practice for online medical practices and patient visits to the “Facebook Office.” Social media lingo in neurosurgery-speak is coming. 

According to The Undisputed Truth, a 70s R&B group, “A smile is just a frown turned upside down.” In olden times, this would be a photoshop image flip; nowadays Drake calls this a vibe switch. To me, it looks like the old school is news again. Snap, Crackle, Pop; knife please.

Click here to see the “Smiley Faces Video.”


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