In the age of email and text messages, some of the nuances that used to be conveyed by the spoken word and visible cues in face-to-face interactions can be lost, and thus there is greater chance of being misunderstood, especially with humor or sarcasm. Emojis seem to promise to fill that niche and have become increasingly popular.
I don’t use emojis, trusting in my ability to use just words to convey my meaning clearly. I also do not use texting abbreviations (‘LOL’ ‘Thx’, ‘TTYL”, and the like), preferring to spell it out. This tends to make my emails and text messages longer than those of others.
But sometimes people use emojis (and texting abbreviations) when writing to me. I can recognize a very few standard ones (smiley face, sad face, winky face, angry face) but that is about it. I ignore all the others because I have no idea what they are supposed to represent and am too lazy to find out.
Recently I got a text with an emoji that again I did not recognize. But this came at the end of a straightforward brief message thanking me for sending some information. Curious as to what the emoji might add to the message, I went looking for it and discovered that there are now hundreds of emojis! I took me a long time scrolling through the tiny images to find the one I had been sent and it turns out to be ‘confetti ball’, which was likely used because it accompanied new year greetings.
Are people really that familiar with the meanings of all these emojis that they can easily append them and know what they mean when they get one, and that it is just old fogeys like me who have to resort to emoji dictionaries to figure out their meaning? The person who sent it to me was younger than me but I would guess about fifty years old. In fact, do young people even use emojis at all these days or is it one of those things that they stopped using when their parents started using them, like with many social media applications?