You may like them, you may hate them, but emojis are here to stay and in the shorthand of digital communications, emojis are increasingly replacing words to become the most used visual form of communication.
I have never shied away from expressing my displeasure and disappointment when people send me emojis, only emojis, to acknowledge my message, or to express their anger or laughter. I’d prefer a more simplistic Okay or Yeah!
Well, like with face masks and hand sanitizers, I am still making peace with emojis being the new normal.
While it is true that a picture speaks a thousand words, the over usage of emojis has reduced its novelty and diluted its purpose. An emoji can at best be an add-on to a message, but by itself it is hollow and devoid of emotions.
Top 5 reasons why I dislike using emojis are…
- Dehumanizing: I personally cringe when some sends ONLY emojis as response to my text. To me it conveys absolute disrespect and that the person is not invested enough in the communication. To me the communication is dead because I am not great at conversing with robots. Emojis…do they even count as part of any actual, meaningful communication. Heck, no!!
- Confusing: Emojis are sometimes confusing, at least to me. I fail to understand the real message that underlies the emoji, and take it to be more of an acknowledgement. The other day my aunt sent me an eggplant emoji and I was clueless. I am sure, so was she. I let it be.
- Sometimes emojis are inappropriately placed: Some people, especially youngsters use emojis so rampantly that they forget the context and audience. I get perplexed when I receive messages from my colleagues notifying me of the absence from work or delay in sending something over. To me this qualifies as a business communication and it’s inappropriate to litter your message with smiley faces and emojis.
- Overabundance: I am not an emoji hater, mind you. I do use some of the ‘classic emojis’ that are clear to understand and have only one meaning, like the happy and sad faces. But they now have emojis virtually for everything conceivable under the sun, from poop to pregnancy! I cannot fathom why would any sane woman/man announce a pregnancy using an emoji!
- False sense of closeness: Now, I see emojis as casual in nature and to be sparingly used in light hearted conversations with a close set of people.I get perplexed when random acquaintances pop out of nowhere and strike a conversation and then begin to drop awkward emojis. For example, I bumped into someone I know from my old apartment and we exchanged numbers. The same night he dropped a message followed by awkward emojis. Needless to say, the conversation ended before it started.
I understand emojis are here to stay and are the new normal. In the minimum we can strive to keep it simple. The old school charm of saying what you mean in words can beautifully express the myriad array of human emotions and also save our already shrinking vocabulary from dying a premature death.
I dread the day when I will receive wordless messages from a co-worker or friend, full of yellow dots and fruits and flowers and more, and not being able to decipher it.