Tone indicators are most popular within some Twitter and Tumblr communities of young people with overlapping interests in identity representation, anime and K-pop fandom, twee aesthetics, and sensitivity toward mental health and gender issues. It’s a milieu where inclusivity is considered a paramount virtue. These people use and like tone indicators because they want to help others have better experiences online.
In recent weeks, several users have posted lists containing dozens of tone indicators ranging from “/j = joking” to “/lh = lighthearted” and “/nsx = nonsexual intent.”
I love how much folks in gen Z are using the tools of the internet and their digital-literacy to improve inclusion, how much they’re thinking about the needs of neurodivergent people, and how this kind of accessibility is gaining a kind of mainstream momentum.
As technologists, we should be following these conversations closely and finding ways to build support for tone indication, content notes/warnings, and other new ideas about communion directly into the tools where appropriate. We should be enabling and empowering better, more nuanced conversation within the software itself.