Have emojis changed the world?

In just two decades, emoji has become ‘the fastest growing language in history’. But are there more complex implications to their popularity? With more than 92% of internet users now using emojis, and billions used every day, do the simple digital pictograms have wider implications for society, relationships and even the way we're hardwired?

Yes, emojis have transformed human relationships.

Emojis have changed the way that people perceive and respond to each other.

Emojis define and restrict emotional range in communication

There are a limited number of emojis. Therefore, as people increasingly use them to express emotions, their emotional range becomes defined (and restricted) by available emojis.

Emojis have created new brain patterns in humans which help decode meaning

Recognizing symbols is an aspect of the human brain which has now evolved. Humans can correctly identify the intended meaning of ambiguous sentences which are enhanced by emojis for emphasis.

People subconsciously judge others based on emoji use

Research shows that people now make assumptions about other people and their personalities, based on their emojis use.

No, the impact of emojis is exaggerated.

The growth in emoji use is part of the much more transformative digital revolution. Emojis are impactful insofar as they enhance (or diminish) existing forms of communication. However, they have no revolutionary impact in and of themselves.

Emojis are a byproduct of the Digital Revolution's efficiency

In this day and age, efficiency is seemingly valued above all else. The emoji came about as a quick means to expressing oneself emotionally through text messaging. It enhances digital conversation, but is only a byproduct of rapidly-evolving communication technology.

Emojis are a subsidiary of mainstream communication and language

Emojis enhance (or diminish) existing forms of communication, which they exist within. They are unable to exist without the structure or depth of another language and cannot be seen as independent from "real" languages.

Emoji use reflects the contexts and identities of their users.

Research shows that emoji use between different populations reflects social, cultural and other contextual specificities unique to each group.

Emojis are a response to real world events

Emojis are created as a response to real world trends and events

Emojis are reminiscent of archaic ancient hieroglyphics and their use

Since ancient times, humans have always used images to communicate. The use of such symbols to portray objects and even ideas has been around for tens of thousands of years. Emojis are just the latest iteration of this historic practice. But that does not mean that they are essential; they are a modern manifestation of a written practice which is outdated and does not express things as clearly as a true written language does.

No, the impact of emojis is limited to communication.

The use of emojis has fundamentally changed the way individuals express themselves and communicate.

Emojis have contributed to lower levels of literacy.

2018 Google study showed that more than 33% of UK adults held them responsible for perceived degradation of the English language.

Emojis are simply non-verbal cues in online communication.

Most of the meaning conveyed in face to face communication is delivered via non-verbal cues. Emojis are the natural graduation of those signs into written language.

Yes, emojis have far-reaching social implications.

Emojis are now so ingrained in our communication, that they affect everything from the governance of society to global business strategies.

Emojis now influence our courts.

The use of emojis in online messages as evidence for intent, in otherwise ambiguous cases has risen dramatically in recent years. Emojis have now been the critical piece of proof in hundreds of legal cases.

Emojis have established a new axis of power within the Unicode Consortium

Emojis are made 'official' by being established within the Unicode. This is decided by the Unicode Consortium, a powerful committee made up of a small group of the world's most powerful tech companies.

Emojis are used by businesses to expand their customer base

Consumers are increasingly responsive to campaigns that integrate emojis. Both corporate and consumer behaviours have therefore adapted to the growing influence of emojis.
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This page was last edited on Wednesday, 4 Dec 2019 at 15:41 UTC