This Easter, decorate yourself, your friends, and your family with a set of bunny ears.
Would you want the life of millions of dollars hanging in the balance of your finger dexterity? These folks do. Financial professionals in a stock or futures exchange gather at a part of the trading floor called a pit. They use Open Outcry, a combination of shouting and hand gestures, to relay information about buying and selling orders. This hand gesture system, Hand Signaling also known as Arb (short for arbitrage) was developed from the need to quickly exchange information across far distances and loud surroundings. Seconds, even microseconds, can make a huge difference during an open outcry, so hand signalling proved to be a great asset.
There are symbols for numbers, names of banks, months, and types of transaction. The signals sometimes seem strange but employ a fairly sensible logic, for example Goldman Sachs is represented by someone pretending to touch his or her thumb to an imaginary ”gold ring” on his or her ring finger. Let’s take a look at two of the most important ones: buying and selling:
Looks like the signaler is pulling and wants to “get” something. Also looks like he or she is copping a feel on themselves.
Looks like the signaler is trying to push or get rid of something as well as trying to cop a feel on someone else.
As you may have guessed, this form of communication is dying. The world is moving towards all-electronic everything and stock exchanges are no exception. Electronic trading systems offer advantages such as speed, efficiency, and accuracy, but Ryan Carlson, founder of tradingpithistory.com, is on a mission to preserve the hand signal language in all of its glory. As cities are beginning to phase this language out, Ryan is documenting all the different dialects to preserve a piece of hand gesture history.
Words can fail us, emoticons can fall short, and reaction gifs may not be enough. Communicating online poses difficulty for those who gesticulate as much as they articulate. So many emotions can be missed. So much humor can be lost. There are many moments that are best captured or expressed by a hand gesture, but how does one share a hand gesture online?
Here are the two best ways you can share the perfect hand gesture for your next online interaction.
1. Use “the web’s first and only hand manual” to find a fitting hand gesture.
Hand It! exists so you can look up and share hand gestures with your friends and family. You can do this in two ways. First, search our collection, click on the title of the post, and copy that URL and paste it into your communication medium of choice. Secondly, you can go through Hand It!, right-click on a picture of a gesture, select “Copy Image URL,” and send that link along to your homies.
2. Let your own hands do the talking.
We all come equipped with the ability to make and share hand gestures. Hopefully, your many social interactions have exposed you to a wealth of different ones. Take a picture of the hand gesture with a webcam or phone, then send that picture. Use Twitter and Instagram on your computer or phone to share the picture. Also, Snapchat’s quick-disappearing act makes it the best medium to share offensive gestures. Video chats on Skype or Facebook give you the freedom to make any hand gesture(s) you want.