How to keep your fa­cial ex­pres­sion in text

Daily Nation (Kenya) - - BUSINESS -

Emo­jis — those weird­look­ing dig­i­tal im­ages used to ex­press an emo­tion in elec­tronic mes­sages — are now a sta­ple in mes­sag­ing. Re­gard­less of the com­mu­ni­ca­tion plat­form, nowa­days, a mes­sage is in­com­plete with­out an emoji here and an emoji there.

Uni­code Con­sor­tium, the group that keeps tabs on emo­jis, re­ports that there are 2,823 ap­proved emo­jis. Did you know that “face with tears of joy”, “smil­ing face with heart­eyes” and “red heart” are the world's most pop­u­lar emo­jis?

When used with text to show emo­tions, stud­ies show, the tone and tenor of a mes­sage be­comes clearer. Emo­jis re­duce or elim­i­nate op­por­tu­ni­ties for mis­un­der­stand­ing, often as­so­ci­ated with plain text mes­sages.

In the so­cial cir­cles, emo­jis are em­braced with pas­sion. Now, work­places are also catch­ing the emoji bug. Leery work­ers, es­pe­cially those with a touch of grey hair, have a dis­dain for emo­jis. They claim that emo­jis aren't so pro­fes­sional for work­place com­mu­ni­ca­tion.

Whereas that might be true in some work­places, more and more smi­ley faces are not un­com­mon on work e-mails — and stud­ies show many work­ers re­ceive then with a wink and a nod.

An emoji can help pacify the pain from a boss's stern e-mail. When neg­a­tive feed­back from a su­pe­rior comes with pos­i­tive emoti­cons, em­ploy­ees are more likely to feel good about the mes­sage and more likely to make the changes re­quested of them.

In a 2013 study, for ex­am­ple, a group of pro­fes­sion­als read an e-mail mes­sage both with and with­out smi­ley emo­jis that were part of a fic­tional work­place sit­u­a­tion. When they were ques­tioned about what they read, the re­sults showed that emo­jis re­duced the neg­a­tiv­ity ef­fect in the busi­ness-re­lated e-mail mes­sages. They said that the same mes­sage sounded less neg­a­tive when em­bel­lished by a smi­ley face.

An e-mail is more likely to mag­nify the neg­a­tiv­ity of a neg­a­tive mes­sage be­yond the in­ten­tion of the sender. In the days when we could not share fa­cial ex­pres­sions and other non-ver­bal cues on e-mails, emo­tions ex­pressed on e-mails were some­times hard to un­der­stand.

It gets worse when e-mails are ex­changed be­tween peo­ple who have grown on dif­fer­ent cul­tural soils, who may per­ceive cer­tain words dif­fer­ently, es­pe­cially among non-na­tive lan­guage speak­ers.

Other stud­ies have shown that e-mails with an emoji on their sub­ject line are more likely to be read be­cause they stand out from the heap. On twit­ter, where most peo­ple strug­gle to fit their mes­sage within the lim­ited num­ber of char­ac­ters, emo­jis come in handy be­cause one emoji can re­place many words.

Emo­jis have be­come the yin and yang of mes­sag­ing. It is es­ti­mated that two-thirds of peo­ple on­line are fre­quent emoji users. Nearly one-third of them are oc­ca­sional emoji users who use them sev­eral times a year. Only one in ten peo­ple who don't use emo­jis at all. In which group do you be­long?

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Kenya

© PressReader. All rights reserved.