Emojis – Here to Stay?

It seems that anyone who uses any kind of messaging app (Kakao Talk, Facebook Messenger, SMS, etc.) these days uses emojis to some extent. Even a 46-year-old relative latecomer to chat apps like me tends to use them as a shorthand way of answering affirmatively (thumbs up), to show laughter (as opposed to typing “LOL” which I never quite warmed to), or sometimes just to be silly and try to get a laugh out of someone.

Tube

I haven’t had a use for this one. Yet.

This recent piece talks about the ways that East Asian users use emojis, and one of the things I found interesting was the idea that emojis offer softer or more indirect ways of saying things that would be hard to express otherwise for cultural reasons:

“[Emojis] appeal not just to the young but also to middle-aged office workers looking to smooth awkward or delicate situations with bosses, colleagues and family members. [Some emoji sets] include a crotchety grandmother who curses a lot – a softer way for chat-app users to swear in front of their elders – and a loving father-daughter set in which the girl gently admonishes her dad.”

Not everyone is crazy about emojis, for similar reasons why people were initially opposed to the ubiquitous shorthand of text communication in general (cya, omw, lol, OMG, etc). To me emojis serve as a useful supplement to written language, in that they convey that missing element of body language and other visual cues without which it often becomes hard to express humor, sarcasm, anger, levity, seriousness, joy, and a range of other emotional shades that are clearly present in face-to-face speech.

A judiciously chosen emoji can reduce ambiguity and thus lessen the potential for miscommunication, which to me is reason alone to consider it a useful supplement to the written language. My sense is that they’ll stick around in some form. What’s your take?

Groovy-Jay-G-300x293

Groovy Jay ending it all? I’m not sure what to make of this one. Use with caution.

 

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7 comments

  1. Age should never be a barrier against using Emojis! I’m all for age equivalency and emoji justice for all! Although there are certain emojis that shouldn’t leave the fingertips of a grown ass man, but that’s neither here nor there.

  2. Some emojis are outright confusing, where not knowing the other person too well, you think they’re overdoing it. I particularly like clever or unique ones that make me smile or describe the conversation exactly, like a cat and its owner doing a happy dance.

  3. Haha, well now I know the names of all the kakao characters. I totally agree with you about adding emojis to address the non-verbal part of communications. There is so much that isn’t said in words, so I think emojis are pretty important…and let’s face it. Who hasn’t cut a chat short with an emoji when we don’t know how to end it gracefully… 😉

  4. I’m totally obsessed with using Kakao Talk emojis! They often convey things you want to say just in a less threatening way. Neo the cat is great to use when you’re feeling all sassypants but don’t want to make the other person angry!

  5. I don’t think they’re always good for reducing ambiguity. Have you ever noticed that when someone sends an emoji, when it first pops up on your phone, like at the top before you click to see what it is, it has the “meaning” in parenthesis? Some emojis I think connote one thing and then get it from someone else and realize the word that goes along with it is something completely different. Just saying, they tend to confuse me more than clear things up. But some of them are pretty cute.

  6. Hahaha, I never knew how strange the Groovy Jay tearing up/free fall was until I saw it blown up. SO STRANGE. I’m a huge fan of emojis too as a visual learner, feels more informal and conversational when you can tack on some visual cues for the person on the receiving end as to your mood. I personally LOVE the kakaotalk emojis the best across every single platform 😀

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