Emojis are the language of today.
This thought struck me the other day and made me realise just how much the way we use and perceive language has changed since the birth of the social media and mobile phones.
To cut a long story short, the power of emojis was brought home to me when someone I don’t know very well sent me a message on Facebook. It was a straight to the point kind of message… a suggestion about a group that I manage on Facebook.
But she didn’t put a smiley face.
And as ridiculous as that may sound, I found myself feeling taken aback and perhaps even offended by her bluntness. But this must be a very modern form of bluntness, as ten or fifteen years ago this same message would not have been lacking anything.
Do you have a different tone for each virtual conversation you have with friends?
Some friends I’ll message quite bluntly, firing off multiple one word texts in a row (which probably really gets on their tits). Other friends I’m more eloquent and lovey-dovey with, writing each text almost like a little letter. On group chats it tends to be more casual, with quick random remarks made and absolutely no kisses in sight, but plenty of emojis. But when messaging the people in the group chat individually, kisses will probably make an appearance.
Interestingly, although today we think of letters of being quite formal and we probably would not write a letter like we would a text, this is very different to one hundred years ago – when letters were the main form of communication. Incredibly, there were multiple posts per day, so you could receive a written response from somebody very quickly. My mom and I went to a vintage fair last weekend and one seller had tons of old postcards and letters for sale. Rather than sentimental exclamations, most of them just said things like “Got home safe from holiday. I’ll pop round next Saturday, let me know if you’re not going to be in. Cheerio, Jim.” So quite like a modern text.
The importance of emojis (for me anyway) comes down to how it’s very difficult to decipher somebody’s tone and true meaning on a text message. Somebody saying, “You should try doing this rather than that.” feels a lot different to somebody saying “You should try doing this rather than that :).” The smiley face just kind of softens everything and gives you a hint of the messenger’s tone.
Who knows how we’ll use language and new modes of communication in the future… but I do know that emojis are pretty important in the here and now.
What’s your opinion on emojis?