In the past few years, you have no doubt started to come across the emoji more frequently. In fact, 2017 saw the first World Emoji Day celebrated, on July 17th. Young people and adults alike are using emojis more than ever. Whilst some of us may just send the occasional smiley face in a message to friends, the symbols have far more potential to them, because they’re a universal language. In fact, a London-based translation agency hired the world’s first professional emoji translator a few months ago.
Emojis can, in fact, be used as entertainment and as a method of educating people in a variety of ways. People may think that technology reduces communication and interest with the wider world, but emojis encourage learning and interaction with others, whether that is in the workplace, socialising with friends, or enjoying some family time. With the majority of the planet becoming more attuned to social media and messaging, it is about time that we start taking emojis seriously. They even have their own movie – which nevertheless received very bad reviews, as we can see on Rotten Tomatoes, whose Tomatometer only gives it 8%. However, it still is an indication that there is something worthwhile in these little faces and images being used across the web.
But why emojis? Despite the popular belief that they are something of the 21st century, having evolved from the emoticon and smartphone culture, the use of symbols in communication and language is far from modern. Some of the first examples of communication are through pictures and symbols, with cave drawings and Egyptian hieroglyphs proving this.
Given that a lot of communication nowadays is done through emails, social media or texts, the ability to understand the emotions of others has never been more crucial. Humour, like sarcasm, can be misinterpreted in messages as an insult, and without being able to a person’s facial expression, could lead to something bad. Emojis can stop this though. A simple laughing face can often be enough to show when humour is involved and save a lot of trouble. Whilst one emoji is fairly easy to understand, strings of emojis are used online frequently, sometimes to replace almost an entire sentence. For particularly hard combinations of emojis, there are tools and apps available online to decode emoji messages, but having to decipher new strings of emojis also helps critical thinking and inference skills through working out the context of the message and linking keywords to each emoji.
You could even be creative by turning your emoji detective skills into some games, and then invite your friends to have a night of emoji-themed fun, which is improves your interpreting and ability to recognise different emojis. For example, you could design a film quiz using emojis instead of the film title, which people then have to guess. In fact, Google Play and App Store have quite a few offerings of apps which allow you to guess sayings, films and more based on their emoji “description”.
Alternatively, have a themed party and create a game such as bingo in honour of the theme. All that is needed is a grid with various emojis or symbols in each square that represent part of the theme. Instead of crossing out numbers, a definition is read out and symbol, then it is crossed off. Emojis in games have garnered popularity across the web too, with bingo sites offering games such as online slots with an emoji theme. For example, the Lucky VIP Casino carries the Emoticoins and Emoji Planet slots, both of which can be played with no deposit.
Emojis have advantages for adults in their work life as well as on an entertainment level. With the popularity of emojis, especially with millennials, businesses are beginning to take on board how these cute characters can help in marketing and business promotion. They make large companies more down-to-earth, therefore encouraging communication and interaction with businesses. Do not be afraid to use emojis as a communication strategy, if you’re aiming to appeal to a youthful, techy and trendy demographic. Emojis can also be used to lighten up the workplace. Sending work emails to colleagues can be made more informal by adding a smiley face or two, which could easily help to entertain someone during a long day at work.
There we have it. The little emoji has a lot more purpose than just a laughing face in response to something funny. With new emojis constantly being added to the collection and the recognition of the diverse society in our world, emojis have the ability to entertain for sure.