I think the prevalence of emoji has made me feel more comfortable communicating.
This is from someone who writes 10,000 words on various blogs a week, easily. But I’ve found that ever since the iPhone introduced emoji, and ever since we got it on our all computers, understanding the tone of an online conversation became easier.
On Wednesday, someone told me some bad news about code we were working on. I was frustrated and annoyed, not at him, so I replied with an emoji: ?
When you compare that to the old
:( way we used to use, suddenly this gives a whole new way of expressing emotion with text.
- This code sucks 😇
- This code sucks 😭
- This code sucks 😡
- This code sucks 😱
Each one evokes a different feeling. The first one makes it look like I’m trying to be innocent, which means I probably wrote it. The second one has me wailing, so I’m trying to fix it. The third I’m just mad. The fourth I’m in horror at the code.
The extends to how I communicate with family. My wife sends me a message about a change to dinner plans and my Apple Watch lets me tap the ‘thumbs up’ image to reply right away. Done. At first it felt weird and dismissive, but in a relatively short amount of time it became a simple way to express frivolity or seriousness in text based messages.
Since 99% of my work is done in text (and mostly real time via Jabber, Slack, or iMessage), I can’t take an hour to craft the perfect reply that makes sure my tone and intent are clear and I don’t accidentally say something stupid. But the ability to reply with just an emoji speeds up online meetings.
This is not to say it’s perfect. There are always issues with communication, no matter what kind it is, but for a lot of us, emoji is helping us say how we feel a little more clearly.