Tell the truth. Do you use Emojis at work? Most of you should have answered ?
76% of American workers admit to using emojis in professional communication according to a research study by mobile messaging company Cotap. Just about everyone (92%) said they use emojis communicating with friends and family.
Wow. The emoji has come a long way. Cue that Talking Heads song: “Well. How did I get here?”
The story goes like this. In 1963, State Life Assurance Company of Massachusetts and Ohio’s Guarantee Mutual Company merged, creating anxiety among employees. Management hired advertising expert Harvey Ball to improve morale. He doodled a smiling yellow face as part of the company’s “Friendship Campaign” and handed out 100 smiley face pins to employees. Ball created one of the most iconic images of all time yet only made $45 because he didn’t trademark it. 🙁
The smiley face became a hipster symbol in the 1960’s and ’70’s before the first digital incarnation at Carnegie Mellon University in 1982. Professor Scott Fahlman typed 🙂 on a university bulletin board to distinguish serious posts from jokes.
Fifteen years later, a designer for a Japanese telecom carrier devised a character set called emoji to bring emotional clarity to text messages. The messaging movement really took off when Apple introduced the iPhone to Japan in 2008 and users demanded a way to use emojis. Unicode, the computer industry’s standard for characters, recognized emoji which then became featured on devices throughout the world.
Emojis are now even showing up in marketing campaigns. You can order a pizza from Domino’s by tweeting a ?. Taco Bell campaigns feature taco emojis that customers can blend with other emoji. Anheuser-Busch, Coca-Cola, Starbucks and Disney paid Twitter more than $1 million for emoji related ad campaigns tied to the Super Bowl. IHOP redesigned its logo in the style of emojis.
Like any communication medium, emojis have drawbacks and limitations. Unclear intentions. Does ? mean crying or sweating? Ambiguity. Is ? a grimace or a smile? Confusion. Is ? a yawn or a complaint?
But Emojis aren’t going away any time soon. Here are 6 reasons why:
- Visual Power: Emojis are visually memorable.
- Simplicity: Quick and easy to use.
- Emotional Impact: Emojis convey emotion more than ‘text only’ messages.
- Broad and Targeted Reach: Just about everyone uses them, particularly the coveted Millennial target market.
- Kinder Negativity: Emojis soften criticism.
- Science: Scientists discovered that when we look at a smiley face online, the same parts of the brain are activated as if we looked at a real human face.
That being said, a face to face conversation is still the ideal communication approach. Stringing together a couple of coherent sentences in an email isn’t so bad either. ?