It’s funny to think that @ one point no one really used the @ symbol except bookkeepers. It’s even funnier to think about if any other symbols have changed their meaning over time, even close to the respect that the @ symbol has. I suppose the closest would be the applauded use of emoticons (although emojis may have put the colon back into organizing sentences rather than being the eyes of the emotional typist.)
It started in Latin (it’s presumed by some) as representing “at” or “toward.” Then was put on the typewriter in it’s creation and eventually chosen by electrical engineer Ray Tomlinson as the great preposition to email.
By now we all associate the @ symbol with Twitter and/or our connector in our email addresses. Now the MOMA has taken this @ popularity a step further, “acquiring” the symbol as a representation of culture. (Art people!) Stating that ownership now goes well beyond the physical acquisition – some things belong to everyone and no one at all at the same time.
Thinking about @ with Twitter brings about the newfound popularity and change for the great pound symbol! #alwaysputsomethingwittyhere So much so the truly “hip” (heavy sarcasm here) even say in conversation, “I’m so happy! Hashtag dying!”*
What do you think of the @ symbol’s movement throughout the centuries? Has this rising star reached its peak or is it destined for even more greatness in decades to come? What other symbol do you see getting a newfound fame in the semiotic world?
Let us know @creativedept
*If you do this, stop it. #seriously