Emoji Tokens

August 24, 2015

Emoji tokens for my Burning Man gift. The idea was to be an emoji fortune teller (loosely based on this xkcd), where people ask me about their future and I rummage around in my bag and pick one or two emoji at random to tell their fortune.

What surprised me about this gag is that in practice I was able to have really deep conversations with absolute strangers. I refused to answer any question I felt was trivial, and kept asking them to get deeper and surprisingly people played along. I started hearing about some of their deepest anxieties, where they were going to live, if they were going to be happy with their partners, how to find satisfying work. It was amazing.

Here are some pictures of people with their fortunes, though I don't have pictures of everyone whose fortune I told. I didn't think to take pictures at first and also got lazy with some fortunes. I also got lazy and didn't want to carry the emoji bag around with me everywhere so most of these are from earlier in the week.

2016 Update

I went back to Burning Man in 2016 and continued to give out emoji fortunes, mostly to my friends on the playa. Again, it was fun and I could get surprisingly deep with people, which particularly nourished me this year. I think in the future I'll keep telling fortunes with these tokens. All the emoji are unique, so every fortune is unique, and that feels special.