• Gabrielle Woolley

The Power of the Emoji

The earliest forms of language began as abstract systems of symbols and images. Has communication come full circle with the evolution of the Emoji?

From Instagram captions to subject lines of e-newsletters, Emojis are being used in all means of digital communication. Their use has transcended the limits of informal text based conversation. People are using Emojis in emails to lighten their tone. Businesses are using Emojis to improve marketing. In 2014, the White House used Emojis in a formal government report.

These cute pictographs have the unique capacity to convey certain moods, tones, or emotions; filling in many of the gaps of non-verbal correspondence. They add a unique dimension to online text, and can completely change how something is interpreted.

Anyone who has accidentally used a winky face Emoji instead of a smiley face Emoji can attest to this. They're small, but powerful, and have become an integral part of online language.

There are nearly 3,000 Emoji, and each year comes with a new release of images. There's an Emoji for almost every mood, emotion, or situation. As Emojis become more widely used, demand for new symbols and specific representation increases.

Does it matter whether or not there is an onion Emoji? Was the addition of the banjo Emoji anything groundbreaking? Probably not. Yet, with the creation of more Emojis, the Emoji language becomes more accessible. Emojis can be used for more situations, to convey more meanings, and by more types of people.

As the digital world becomes increasingly interconnected across various platforms, places, and times, it matters that Emoji are inclusive. The power of Emoji to convey universal meanings and account for the nuances of non-verbal communication becomes more and more valuable.

More opportunities for expression creates more opportunities for universally understood communication. Subsequently, there is a greater chance for connection.

Anyone can take advantage of Emojis as a tool to improve communication. Certainly, specific contexts and cultural aspects will shape how Emoji are used and interpreted. Yet, the special capability of Emoji to be universally understood points to a promising future for digital communication. With more Emojis, there are more opportunities for expression and more specific communication. Emojis act as a universal language, which matters for the intricate, elaborate, and expansive online world.

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