Remember when they were called ‘emoticons’ and we were limited to creating faces with parenthesis :-)? Lately, it’s impossible to send a text or, in some cases an email, without a smiley face, thumbs up or goblin mask.
Recently, tech giant Apple announced that a new wave of emojis were being released, to add to the existing repertoire already installed on every iPhone across the world. This includes toilet paper, sponges and even a DNA strand. So, what could we possibly do with all of these new emojis and why do they matter so much in 2019?
A Brief History of Emojis
Whilst the initial origin of emojis is somewhat debated, the colourful icons that we’re used to originated in Japan in the late 1990s. Since then, emoji use has boomed. In fact, in 2015, it was even an emoji that was titled ‘Word of the Year’ with the ‘laughing crying face’. 😂
Now, it’s near impossible to find a piece of tech that offers communication services without an emoji keyboard. Even on Viva’s macs, in just a couple of clicks I have the entire emoji database at my fingertips. ⌨️💻
Emojis in the Workplace
So, why is any of this important? Emojis are now an essential part of our online language, as they can convey emotion in a way that sometimes, words can’t.
‘Can you get that report to me by Friday?’ might seem like a harmless sentence but read in the wrong tone by the reader, it can come across as cold and unforgiving. Stick a smile at the end, and suddenly the recipient isn’t swallowed into a hole of dread. A University of Missouri-St. Louis study found that even in a business setting, people were more open to receiving emojis in professional emails and, as a result, liked the sender more.
This might be because humans perceive emojis as human faces and respond to their emotions online just as anyone would in person. So, if I sent a 😀 to someone they’d obviously understand I was happy, and with 92% of people online using emojis, they’re not too hard to understand.
The importance of emojis
When it comes to social media and online presence, emojis are almost integral. A study by the University of Cambridge found that positive icons yielded positive results, for example, better brand presence and a positive association with the company that used them.
So, next time you’re composing a tweet or writing an Instagram caption, consider adding an emoji. The likelihood is that the little icon you post will evoke happiness in your audience, and, in turn, add value to the things you’re posting.
What do you think – are emojis a fad that will come and go, or are they first digital language and the next step in online communication?
Nic Parkes | Junior Accounts Executive