Did you know July 17th is World Emoji Day?  A few years ago, that would have meant absolutely nothing to anybody.

Now emoji are widely recognised as a way to use an image to express emotion as a new type of evolving language.

Did you know that there are now 3,304 different emoji?  Do you know what they all mean?

Most of us probably only use a limited number while younger generations can write entire sentences using the visual cues without any words at all.

Why World Emoji Day?

World Emoji Day, now in its seventh year, was founded by Jeremy Burge of Emojipedia in 2014.

During the day, the idea is to create social media buzzing with chatter about everything Emoji, using the hashtag #WorldEmojiDay.

Typically, during the day over 100 tweets per minute are sent using the hashtag.

In 2019 the hashtag generated over 4 billion Twitter Impressions and over 190,000 Twitter accounts joined in, sending over 300,000 related tweets.

The History of Emoji

Emoji were created in the late 1990s in Japan by NTT DoCoMo, a communications firm.

The word translates form the Japanese kanji for e and moji, which roughly translates to pictograph. They are actual pictures, and an extension to the character set used by most operation systems today; Unicode.

Emoji differ from Emoticon which are a typographic display of a facial representation, used to convey emotion in only text medium e.g. : ) = J

Emoji is both plural and singular, in keeping with the Japanese language, however, adding an ‘s’ is becoming more popular.

To find Emoji on your Windows or Mac keyboard use CTRL + CMD +space to bring up the emoji menu.

The most popular emoji on Twitter is ‘face with tears of joy’ 😂

This along with the ‘smiling face with heart eyes’ 😍 and the ‘birthday cake’ 🎂are the favourite emoji on Facebook.

How much do we use Emoji?

  • 92% of the online population use emoji daily
  • Over 10 billion emoji are sent every day
  • Over 900 million emoji are sent through Facebook messenger alone
  • In casual conversation, they introduce feelings of enjoyment happiness and an overall positive impression of the interaction
  • We process them as non-verbal information, which means we interpret them as emotional communications, i.e. we feel the emotion they represent. This gives them power to enhance the message.
  • 70% of people believe the images express their feelings better than words

Use of Emoji in Business

Our forms of communications are continually evolving, and as we use more and more online tools for business the use of emoji is not surprisingly occurring more frequently.

Some business managers are beginning to recognise that their employees communicate more effectively with each other when using emoji.  This supports the old adage, ‘a picture paints a thousand words.’

For some, the use of emoji can indicate the desired tone more clearly, and cause less chance of misunderstanding than long wordy texts or emails.

Emoji can add a personal touch, and add humour where appropriate. However, it is worth considering the demographic of your clients, and the nature of the conversation you are having.  It would be inappropriate to use them for a more formal discussion.

Millennials make up a large percentage of the workforce in many companies, and social media, and emoji are second language to them.  Also, because of the recent changes to our working situations, and the widespread use of collaborative office tools such as Slack and Microsoft Teams, casual work interactions are becoming more the norm.

Microsoft Teams have found a way to incorporate emoji for team channels, making them easier and quicker to recognise.

Slack have added in emoji reactions as quick ways to respond to messages, replacing the need to type follow-up messages.

Looking at different research for use of emoji in business:

  • 78% of people think using emoji makes you more likeable
  • 63% of people see their use as positive
  • 46% of young adults 18-29 believe it is acceptable to use them in emails and other communications
  • 39% of senior managers believe their use is unprofessional
  • But 15% of professionals think they improve workplace communications
  • 50% of young professionals see an emoji using co-worker as more fun, and kinder than colleagues who use text only

Drawbacks to using emoji in business

Even though we think of them as universal, they do not always work as intended.  There is no universal agreement on what specific emoji mean.  Everybody brings their own interpretation to an emoji.  This mismatch can cause confusion or embarrassment.

The 39% of senior managers who believed it unprofessional to use emoji in the workplace think it could affect your reputation as a qualified expert.  This is where understanding the demographic of your clients is paramount.

Creating your own emoji

Businesses can create their own emoji, to match their brand and have some fun.

There are plenty of programs out there, and Hongkiat.com has a great article ’10 tools to create custom emoji.’

Apple’s latest update to iOS 13 means that you can customise your own emoji for WhatsApp too.

If you want to express yourself, with emoji, using a free app for iOS and Android you can make any picture into a custom emoji to share with your friends.  They are not a Unicode character, so you will only get an emoji effect if used on Facebook Messenger.

And if you want to see this year’s new emoji, click here: https://www.forbes.com/sites/davidphelan/2020/02/11/new-emoji-for-2020-117-arrivals-but-amid-the-fun-1-mystery-remains/

 

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