:-) :-S :-( :-o Embracing emoticons

smile-emoticon-10-1159483-640x640I remember it well, in the early noughties there was a sudden realisation that you could show a smiley face in text with a simple colon, dash and bracket.  How fantastic! 🙂  Honestly, what a brilliant and fun invention!? Everyone was embracing emoticons.

The different emotions have grown with time, my favourite being the confused :-S and I remember when businesses had unwritten policies about whether or not it was acceptable to use one in an internal or external email.

When it comes to mobiles though, I’ve never really been into text-talk. I prefer the full word and I have never used ‘r u’ in any texts that I’ve sent, even when there was a limit on the number of characters in the days before iMessage, WhatsApp and Skype.  It just didn’t seem correct imho. (See what I did there). And when my Mum once sent me a text saying ‘r u at home now?’ I was almost physically repulsed.

My children will learn to spell correctly and write in proper grammatically correct English. Always.

However, recently I’ve got a little addicted to the emoji craze.  We’ve gone beyond simple emotions and now I can pretty much explain my whole weekend in 13 mini images. They’re colourful and they express far more visually than text on a page.  Not only that, I’ve also started to slip the odd smiley face into emails to colleagues, my boss and even on occasions my customers.

emojiI like to think that it personalises it, and helps stop an email being misconstrued, which can happen very easily.

Been there, done that.

In fact, Skype for Business has animated emojis including one which involves an icon banging their head against a brick wall.  It’s very funny and unfortunately I have had to use it on several occasions when expressing frustration to a similarly frustrated colleague.

If I’m being sarcastic, or know that I’m asking a huge favour of someone, I stick a smiley face on the end of an email or instant message in the hope that I appeal to their kind heart and they just won’t be able to say no.  9 times out of 10 it works and it helps me build relationships remotely with people that I rarely see or speak to face to face.

But what is next?

The rate at which communication is changing is staggering.  Thanks to a Mr Albert Mehrabian and his research, it is a well publicised belief that communication is:

7% verbal, 38% tone and 55% body language.

2-way quick conversations were face to face or on the phone.  There was no ability to converse quickly via any other means.  If it was face to face, heaven forbid you had your arms crossed, or were gazing up to the left hand corner of the room during an interview.

Nowadays so much is online.  I’m speaking to you through writing a blog and I don’t know you, and you don’t know me.  However, in order to make a connection I need to resonate with you.

They say a picture speaks a thousand words but personally I think emoticons have bought additional tone (38% of it) to our written language, especially in 2-way fast interactions.  I can visualise a person smiling, sighing or crying just by an icon and therefore I will continue to embrace them until such time as they bring out time travel, teleportation or a ‘mini-me’ that I can transmit over the wire.

Ta ta for now :-D, I’m off for a

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Amelia Salisbury

A thirty-something working Mum of one who devotes her spare time to helping other paranoid, worrying, stressed parents who are trying to juggle careers and parenthood.

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