For Your Interest: Emojis. Part 2. Real Messages. Real Feelings.

Image: RCA. Crane, iEmoji. Text Conversation, Pinterest. Swear Face, Redbubble. Puzzlehead, PNG Kit. Shrug, Redbubble.

Introduction from Part 1.
Text speak and emojis have taken over social, business and personal expression. It’s in advertising & marketing, all over direct messages (DMs), on social media, across webmail, and even schools & governments  https://hungarytoday.hu/fidesz-government-billboard-campaign-emojis-natl-survey-soros-migration-taxation/ have jumped on board.

Facts: 92%* of the people on the internet use emojis. 97%** of U.S. adults text at least once a week. 10* billion emojis are sent every day. (*Source: ConversationMedia.org. ** Localproject.net)

The upside to using text speak and emojis 👨🏻‍🏫👠 is that it’s a handy, universal, attention grabbing and fast way to communicate. The downside is information chaos, knowledge gaps and internet to real life drama.

Missed details, lost information, miscommunication and misunderstanding(s) are all on the rise.

[To read an overview on the current state of online communications, texts & text speak, plus an introduction to emojis, click here on Part 1. https://thelasource.com/en/2021/09/20/for-your-interest-emojis-part-1-real-messages-real-feelings/]

Emojis. Real Messages. Real Feelings. Continued Part 2.

Emojis have been in use for almost 25* years. In the past five years, they have replaced words as the quickest, easiest way for users to make a point, share moods and express feelings online. Technically, emoji(s) should be an easy-to-use, no brainer. As plain, simple pictures 🥃🛼🏠, working out the meaning or intent behind even unfamiliar, unknown e-characters seems like a breeze. Twenty four years of research and computer science says…not so fast. Emojis are constantly “misunderstood” and misinterpreted. The tech industry calls this “communication problems.” In real life (IRL), it’s called a “failure to communicate.” (*J Phones 1997)

The struggle is real. As with text speak, the impact, outcomes and life lessons to emojis being misjudged and not well understood ☠️ 🙅 are:
A) Hurt feelings. Personal or cultural.
B) Wrong impressions. +/- one evening, one day, one week to repair.
C) Social breakdown. Friendship, relationship, situationship non-function.

Just ask Florida Republican congressman Matt Gaetz, who made the wrong kind of news when he sent a tweet to Donald Trump’s daughter, Tiffany Trump. https://people.com/politics/matt-gaetz-slammed-social-media-creepy-tweet-tiffany-trump/  Or tabloid princess/influencer Khloe Kardashian, who found herself facing a backlash after a tweet she sent using emojis. https://www.mirror.co.uk/3am/celebrity-news/khloe-kardashian-race-row-after-23439038

It’s not just celebrities and politicians who are having a hard time. These are just a small sample of what is happening in the day-to-day lives of millions of ordinary people all over the world 🇦🇩🇬🇶. Hands up anybody who has looked at a screen lately and thought WTH?! Things are puzzling, frustrating and untidy right now in the internet, communications, emoji space. (*Scroll down to read a history of emojis)

Here are 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 reasons why emojis are an online trouble spot and mistake waiting to happen ❌⁉️.

Number 1: Lack of user knowledge. Directories* and definition manuals 📙📖for emojis can be found all over the internet, but there is no 1-800 helpline or main guide. Using them correctly is a hands-on learning curve which involves trial and lots of error(s). Proper use can come after it is too late to do anything about a situation gone wrong. [*Click here to view the Emojipedia definition directory. https://emojipedia.org/]

Number 2: Too much and too many💃🏻💃🏻💃🏻. At the end of 2020, there were 3136* different official emoji characters. The Unicode Consortium https://home.unicode.org/  added 217* new ones to the directory in 2021. By comparison, the regular alphabet has twenty six letters. Kim Kardashian’s Kimojis and Chanel’s 2017 release are just two examples of celebrities & unclassified experts who have also created their own versions which only adds to the issues. (*Source: weforum.org/Statista)

Number 3: It’s technical. Google vs. Samsung vs. iPhone. Blame the tech engineers and developers. Because of different onscreen displays and operating systems, emojis often do not look the same on the the sending side as the receiving end.

Number 4: Multiple meanings = mixed signals. One emoji can have many or different meanings.
Exhibit A) Angry face 😠 is used to show anger. The original meaning is victory or success.
Exhibit B) Hands clasped 🙏 is taken as a sign for hope, prayer or begging. The emoji actually means please, thank you or forgiveness. 
Exhibit C) Feeling bored usually appears as boredface. 🥱 Correct use is to show doubt or irritation. The list of emojis with many meanings goes on…

Number 5: The human factor. People are crazy 🤯, illogical ⛄️ and hard to predict. Anything unknown or unclear is a trigger for mild reaction to extreme overreaction. There is no way to predict personal reactions or online repsonses. 

A special note on timing: Timing 🕝⏰ is, was and always will be everything. In this mobile age, how… where…when…a message is seen or sent plays a major role in how well/poorly it is received/interpreted. 

With all this in mind, here are 10 how-to notes on emoji best practices & etiquette, as well as 5 texting guidelines to follow…which will boost use in the emoji and texting space, increase internet peace ☮️ and help avoid making message mistakes. #OnlineRehab.
NB: These only apply to those interested in developing a healthy long-term online presence and maintaining good internet vibrations.

Emojis: Dos & don’ts. Best practices. Common sense.

General Use: Think of emojis as a kind of online slang. Sending or receiving, remember the context, relationship and impression being created. If it wouldn’t be appropriate in person 👩🏻‍🚀👅🦸🏽‍♂️, it’s not appropriate online. When in doubt, opt for words to get the true message across.

First Impressions: As the saying goes, you only get one chance. Wait until there is enough goodwill and rapport before using emojis to show a fun-loving, happy-go-lucky 😀🌈 personality. The other person/people are unknown. Some are (immediately) judgemental.

Choosing emojis: Stick to well known, easy to understand characters. https://www.makeuseof.com/top-emojis-explained-cheat-sheet/ Even among best friends and close family, there are those who don’t know all the different choices. Using strange or unknown characters might seem unique, but being understood is more important than being edgy or labelled as weird. 

Do not use emojis in emails, texts and online interactions with clients, customers and business associates: This keeps a professional tone and gives your work 👨‍💼📊📈communications credibility. https://libn.com/2018/01/17/samansky-eliminate-emojis-from-all-company-correspondence/ The exceptions are Social Media Coordinators and Community Managers.

On social media: This depends on the platform. Twitch streams, Clubhouse, Instagram, Twitter, hobby sites etc are all go zones. On comment threads, organization forums and corporate sites, it’s best to refrain. The internet can be (very) unforgiving.

In online communication with work superiors and senior executives: Always remember the balance of power. There is no situation or occasion when using emojis in emails, texts, group chats…or any another format, with superiors is advised🔞🔞. Some office/business relationships may be easy going and light-hearted in real life, but it is best to err on the side of caution.

The generation gap: Emoji use in communicating with those who are younger is A-okay. Older generations may not have the same familiarity…or fully understand their meaning.

Do use emojis in personal texts and emails with friends and family: This is a safe group to let the emoji flag fly. Be as creative and free as you wish👨🏻‍🎨🧞‍♀️👔. Avoid using too many as this may seem immature.

Skin coloured and controversial emojis: This is uncharted, unsafe territory. Depending on the intent and purpose, it could be no biggie or a really big deal. True facts: There have been arrests and prison time handed out for the use of bomb and pistol emojis. https://www.sacbee.com/news/nation-world/national/article240281846.html
Skin coloured emojis are a huge internet minefield. User be very ware!

Relationships, booty calls, hook ups: 🥰 😘High risk, high reward. Using emojis could be viewed as cute and endearing, or the reason to be friend-zoned, ghosted, dumped. Fresh/new relationship? In the words of Amy Winehouse, “no, no no.” Casual and ongoing? 💄👀Tread lightly, use discretion. Married/long term? Timing and “current status” are part of the equation.

Texts: User(s) guide and tips.

Reply promptly… or as soon as possible: This shows good manners and attentiveness. Games are for kids.

Do not text at inappropriate times: Texting while at dinner, the movies, during speeches, or in church (yes, it happens) is rude and out of place. Either wait until later or excuse yourself for a few minutes.

Keep them short: By design, texts are supposed to be short, quick communications. Long texts should be moved to email. Another solution is to break them up into smaller, bite-size sections.

Double check before hastily pressing send: Nobody’s laughing if auto-correct accidentally changes your mid-day joke into a text fail. A second look also gives time to reflect, change the message or maybe skip it altogether.

Texting and driving. This is obvious. Don’t!

*A history of emojis
. The earliest set of emojis (90 characters) was included on Japanese smart phones in 1997**. Two years later, Shigetaka Kurita created a group of 197 characters which are recognized as being the first univsersal set. His inspirtation was Manga, Chinese characters and street signs. The big emoji breakthroughs came between 2004 and 2009 when phone & tech companies, including Google, Nokia and Microsoft began collaborating on a universal code and standard that would be compatible with systems worldwide. The first standard group was released in 2010*. Unicode 6.0 contained 722* emojis. Since then, the Book of Emoji has been added to every year; courtesy of developers and the usual tech suspects Yahoo, MSN and Apple. (*Source: Wikipedia. **J-Phone)

Copyright (C) 2021. RaphaelClarence/ La Source Online. All Rights Reserved.

Photo Credits. Thumbs down, iEmoji. Skull & Crossbones, Stay Hipp. Dragon, iEmoji. Ambulance, iEmoji. Mushroom Head, OSX. Vom, Seattle For Growth. 5, Freepik. Rap Emoji, Vector Stock. Genie, Telegraph. Cocktail, Pinterest. 10, Pink Rose. Fairy, iEmoji. Okay, Pinterest. Handclap, iEmoji. Mask, Creative Commons. No Text, Mike Mozart. Kristen, KP. Eggplant, Vector PNG. SMS, Green Moon. Email, PNG Key. Earth, Zazzle. Text, Pinterest.

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