Emojis show emotions; emotion is engagement

Emojis show emotions; emotion is engagement

Written by Thai Sirikoone


In 2015, ????  was Oxford Dictionaries’ word of the year. In the same year, according to tech company SwiftKey’s findings, it was also found to be the most used emoji all around the world.

It’s not a word. It’s an emotion personified.

Obviously, many criticized and poked fun at decision, and with good reason.

However, it was an extremely wise decision, on the part of Oxford Dictionaries, to acknowledge the power and meaning of emojis as a new age communication tool.

Emojis say a lot with very little.

Implication is everything when it comes to communication, and it is especially hard to discern implication in text. Perhaps double especially when it comes to online text.

More importantly, emojis allow people to show emotions through in a way that has never been done before. Clarity of intent is neatly displayed with a cute emoji, and can enhance a conversation if used properly. Simply sending a heart can mean just as much as saying ‘I love you,’ or ‘that mean thing I said was meant to be endearing.’



As a matter of fact, many businesses and marketers are taking advantage of emojis to maximize user engagement and audience building.

Twitter has recognized the emotional power of emojis and is now engaged in advertisement targeting “based on [users] expressed sentiment.” This can perhaps be seen as a dubious move on Twitter’s part due to how useful emojis are on their platform, on account of the 140 character restriction.

Of course, emojis have a unique history compared to other mass communication tools, but it may only get weirder. Emoji usage has no signs of slowing.

Source: http://www.marketingdive.com/news/how-marketers-can-leverage-the-emoji-trend/416289/

On top of that, new emojis are still being added, such as the taco. That emoji inherently benefits companies like Taco Bell, a company that uses emojis very well, and lovers of tacos alike.

Maybe they’ll do a spring roll emoji, that way I can tell my friends what I want to eat with one touch!


Cover photo by Theus Falcão / CC


3 thoughts on “Emojis show emotions; emotion is engagement

  1. I agree that emojis are powerful expressions of words, thoughts, and are useful to communicate intent in a low-context environment such as online text. However, I wonder if calling an emoji a word is the best way to acknowledge the impact emojis have had on our communication. Emojis, like words, are symbols which we give meaning by using them, but words and emojis are different types of symbols. Emojis are visually expressive, whereas words are audible expressions, even when read. We use words to describe the “😂” as “the laugh-cry emoji”.

    I believe that, although word usage evolves, it is important to maintain clarity to allow for clearer communication. The less that is up to interpretation, the less likely it is for miscommunication to occur. And I wonder if naming the 😂 a word is blurring the lines too much.

    …Or perhaps I’m just over-thinking it.



  2. I like what you have to say about emojis; there is definitely a place for them in online communication. I feel a little conflicted though; I try to limit my use of emojis because I feel that as a future professional communicator I should use the written language, rather than smiley faces. But when sending super short messages (ones that can easily be taken the wrong way) sometimes it may be necessary to use emojis. I think that emojis can be useful in certain situations, but we have to be conscious how much we’re using them and if they’re being used for the right reasons. I feel like we might be losing touch with the written language if we simply swap a sentence with a little picture. It reminds me a little of 1984, when the dictionary editor tells Winston how the dictionary is getting smaller and smaller with every edition because one word can be simply substituted for all the other words that have a similar meaning. So there is only one newspeak word and the others are eliminated.
    That being said, there should definitely be a spring roll emoji. I would probably use that in every conversation.


  3. I definitely agree with what you’re saying here. Honestly, I probably use emojis a bit too much in my texts. There is a time and a place for them though, like in texts or informal emails. Though many may wish it were otherwise, emojis are becoming their own language, like your example of sending a heart meaning “that mean thing I said was meant to be endearing.” I’ve used the heart emoji this way many times! We understand emojis through nuance, and the context of the messages we are sending and receiving.

    Again, nice post! I enjoyed reading it, and I would love it if there was a spring roll emoji!


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