Not long ago, my nine-year-old granddaughter took my picture with her iPad and made an emoji of me. I loved watching her do it. She was totally adept at navigating her emoji app to pick the hairstyle most like mine, the color of my hair, eyes, and skin, the shape of my face and lips. As you see above, the final product is cartoonlike, but isn’t that what emoji are? And goodness, she makes me look so young. What woman in her right mind would object to that?
The first emoji appeared somewhere around 1998, originating in Japan as a “picture character” for cell phone use. Over time, their use spread to other devices, often as punctuation at the end of a sentence, a quick little statement of happiness, sadness, congratulations, or whatever. That said, I have both sent and received texts where the sole content is an emoji. It’s actually a great way to end a digital conversation, when you have nothing left to say but don’t want to abruptly disappear.
The descendants of Emily Post advise using emoji only when you’re sure they will be well received. I agree, and, for this reason, only use them with people I know. This especially applies to a business email, though some guidelines discourage using emoji in business notes at all. I do, assuming I have an ongoing relationship with the recipient.
The guidelines also discourage using emoji in serious situations. But what’s wrong with using a serious emoji? I’d actually make the argument that a carefully-placed emoji takes the edge off a serious email. In instances, again, where I know the recipient, I’ve used a frowning face, even a teary-eyed emoji.
So here’s a thought. I’m a passionate person. You readers of my books know that. I feel emotions strongly. When talking in person, my face shows what I feel. Perhaps this explains why I like using emoji. They are my written version of a facial expression.
Some people hate seeing emoji anywhere. Do you? Do you think they’re tacky?
On the other hand, do you like them as I do? Where do you use them most – on your phone? Tablet? Computer? With my grandkids, I’ll use multiples, like ending a text with five kiss-blowing faces. I still use a smiley face a lot, but my favorite emoji is the smiley with heart-shaped eyes. Do you have a favorite?