Do You Speak Emoji?
Let’s talk about Emojis for a second (a word constructed from Japanese: e-, picture, mo– writing, ji– character). When was the last time you sent a text message without one? IF that’s even possible, because how else would they understand your joke without the crying/laughing emoji stamped three times on the end of your text?
Emojis have suddenly become a part of our daily written communication. They enrich and draw out meanings from sentences you never thought were there; for instance if you read, “I like her *peach emoji*” as some sort of culinary compliment, you can basically consider yourself as illiterate in the world of social media. Does this mean our grasp of language become so infantile that we require pictures alongside our words to aid their understanding? Or maybe we just like the way they make our texts look pretty and colourful.
Proceed With Caution
Some suggest that Emoji is the first global language, similar to body language – a smile in one country is a smile in the other, so surely a smiley emoji mimics these rules too. People all around the world can comment on each other’s latest Instagram photos with a simple winking emoji and it is globally understood to be a sign of flirtation. Is that not amazing? You can flirt with someone who doesn’t even speak a word of your language? However there are some issues – as with all universal norms, behaviour is interpreted within its social context, so as long as you don’t let them permeate your professional communication, there can be no harm. BUT proceed with caution. When using emojis, make sure you know their pragmatic meaning before you use them. You never know when inserting an aubergine emoji into a caption of your dinner is descriptive, or just plain rude.
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