Is There a Link Between Science and Emoji Usage?

Emojis (😀) came into being in 1999 in Japan. When translated into Japanese, emoji means “picture character”. They started off as yellow cartoon faces with various expressions and have now marked territories in categories such as food, travel, flag, activity and people. Emojis evolved from their prehistoric cousins called the emoticons. The word emoticon comes from a contraction of the word emotional icon. It is claimed that these were introduced in the late 70s. Emoticons consist of symbols and numbers found on the keyboard. The earliest of them are :- ) and :- ( representing smiles and frowns respectively. 

Emoticons

Emoticons 

Emojis

Emojis

When you talk to a person, their facial expressions are the first thing you notice. Similarly, other non-verbal cues like body language, tone of voice and gestures take up a substantial portion of communication according to social psychology experts. Now that communication has shifted to digital platforms, how effective is it without any non-verbal cues? Are there any digital equivalents of it? Yes, there is. Emojis! Emojis played a significant role in the smooth transition from in-person to digital communication. They might not be as efficient as physical cues, but emojis are the alternates that help convey and interpret the meaning as intended to the people on the other side of the screen. Here is proof of the science behind why emojis must be used.  

1) Emojis Drive Social Media Engagement

Surprisingly, there are arguments that emoticons are lazy forms of communication and erode the ability to communicate clearly. Although from a marketing standpoint, emojis drive engagement on Twitter by 25.4%, can increase the number of Facebook likes by 57%, comments and shares by 33%. Emojis feel personal and humanize information exchange on the internet and give more meaning. 

2) Emojis Retain Information Longer 

Emojis Retain Information Longer

A study says that combinations of emojis and words create longer memory retention of information. The text, “Please proofread the attached report 🙂 ” will be remembered longer than “Please proofread the attached report”. This is especially important in digital marketing. Emojis can be used to imprint the image of brands on the users’ minds. Although overuse or inappropriate emojis can pose a threat. 

3) Emojis Portray Friendliness 

Emojis Portray Friendliness

Adobe’s study reveals that 81% of people believe that emoji users are friendlier and more approachable. An “Ok” may signal annoyance or disappointment but an “Ok 🙂” will send out good signals. Scientists say that when we look at a digital smiley face, the very same parts of the brain are activated as when we look at a smiling human face. Emojis communicate irrespective of language barriers and users feel it is easier to translate thoughts through emojis than through words. 

4) Emojis Cushion Negative Feedback

Emojis are not considered an informal way of communication. They are used even in business and work settings by 61% of the people. This leads to better and clearer communication between employees and also with superiors. Emojis in professional emails are effective communication tools as they add personality and liven up conversations. Workplace communication studies show that negative feedback with positive emojis cushions the blow. Therefore emojis make the daunting of tasks easier and add warmth to words. 

Today there are 3,304 emojis on the internet and various studies about its usage have been conducted. The majority of the users i.e. 76% wish that more emojis were available and many say they want emojis to be a representation of their identity and are willing to customize emojis.

Emojipedia, the leading emoji resource, marks World Emoji Day on the 17th of July as it is the date visible on an original emoji calendar. They also determine the most popular emoji of each year. The most popular emoji has been 😂 since 2018. Let’s wait and see what it is going to be this year. 

In a nutshell, yes, there is a link between emoji usage and science. Emojis drove the transition to digital communication without too many hitches as they enhance engagement online, retain memory, cushion negativity, and portray friendliness. There are so many emoji options and new ones keep getting added. Next time you are typing out a digital message, add the emojis to give it a human touch. Although watch out for what emojis mean because many a time, they do not mean what they look like. Whether you are planning a digital marketing campaign or sending a work email, do not forget to add emojis for better conveyance as they have proven to be beneficial. What is your favourite emoji? Tell us in the comments below.  

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