Emojis are changing the way we communicate.
Emojis, the smiley faces that seemed to be just an innocuous, subtle evolution from emoticons, are evolving the way we communicate and transfer information.
Emojis bridge gaps in expression.
Once my parents discovered emojis, they have been using emojis on almost a daily basis. Common emojis include those that convey emotions 😊☺️😥👏 and emphasis 🎉🎊.
Similar stories of parents, uncles, aunts, and grandparents (over)using emojis have been shared among my peers. This pattern points to a noteworthy shift in communication, especially because it manifests itself prominently in communication across generations –and thus, cultures. Emojis empowered my parents to express themselves, where they previously experienced a (possibly, unsurfaced) gap of expression. In this way, emojis are (more) effective communicators. Emojis allow for another form of saying, “I love you” or “Congrats.”
Furthermore, this visual form is often easier to translate and understand across cultures because it simplifies the context and rules of language. For example, “I love you” / “I love you!” / “I love you!!” / “I love you.” / “i love u” may each have different meanings despite having the same composition. Using a visual representation of love through emojis like 💕 or ❤️ removes the mental energy of translating the context and rules of language, and empowers expressing oneself more fully or honestly where barriers once existed.
Emojis have become their own coded language.
Similar to inside jokes, emojis often have implied or embedded meanings. These embedded meanings can be spread across an entire generation (e.g., 🍆), or they can be private among a small group of people (e.g., 🍤).
A more sobering case of emojis as coded language would be sex traffickers communicating with potential buyers through emojis. To undiscerning outsiders, these public messages do not signify anything of importance and in fact, may seem silly. To those on the inside who are able to decode, however, these messages contain details enough to make serious purchasing decisions.
Emojis are powerful. The next time you use or read an emoji, think about it. 😉💭