Color me mildly contemporary. I use emoji. Mac, iPhone, iPad, and occasionally Watch. Emoji for adults seem to have a place, but it’s likely those of us in the older persuasion probably use them wrong.
Why? We use real words and real grammar. Or, at least, we try to, the occasional split infinitive or dangling preposition notwithstanding.
Apple says new emoji are on the way with 69 new symbols already approved by the Unicode Consortium. Almost 2,700 emoji have been developed; up from barely 700 two years ago.
This is not a good trend and Apple isn’t helping.
Emoji on Mac, iPhone, iPad, and Watch work much like the app icons on watchOS 3.x. No name under the icon. There’s no easy way to determine the meaning of each emoji because there isn’t a name under the icons. Some are simple. Smiley face, pizza, umbrella, and others are obvious. But the array of emotions behind the few dozen smiley face emoji totally escapes me (and I suspect many other adults).
I can figure out the head-exploding emoji and a thumbs up emoji, but what’s with the dinosaur emoji or split coconut emoji? What’s the meaning? Sandwich emoji is obvious but how likely is that to show up in a text message or email?
I just searched the 7,000 email messages in my Mail app and it did not turn up a single instance of ‘sandwich‘ in any message. Not one.
Worse, whatever emoji you send from an iPhone or iPad to a Windows or Android device user isn’t necessarily the same so there is bound to be some confusion as to the meaning behind the sent emoji, right?
Think about it. Talking to a human face-to-face often leads to misunderstanding. Sending email leads to misunderstanding and inaccurate communication. Twitter is good for the succinct message but most tweets come from a tiny percentage of all Twitter users. Most just read and don’t engage.
Emoji doesn’t help except like an occasional swear word when used for emphasis. Yes, the umbrella emoji takes up less space than the word umbrella but it’s digital communication and digital ink and space basically is free.
Yes, I know. People love using emoji, though I’ve noticed a trend back to using the simple LOL because typing those three letters is faster than digging through a few hundred or thousand emoji characters, and the very simple smiley face comes in twenty-eleven different versions. LOL is faster.
iPhone and iPad users have the option to tap and see if any of the words we have written have corresponding emoji but frankly I’m worried that whoever reads a message I sent that is full of emojis won’t understand what I wrote.
I am right, you know.
Monday was World Emoji Day. I celebrated by not using one emoji all day.