Before emojis, there were emoticons, facial expressions made with punctuation marks. The first use of an emoticon online dates back to 1982. Scott Elliott Fahlman, a computer scientist at Carnegie Mellon University proposed “:-)” to be used as a “joke marker” in a message.
Today, emoticons are so much widely used and don’t need too much explanation. With the growth of social media, these pictorial representations of feelings have gained enough significance in terms of communication.
However, the first emoticons appeared in one of the issues of Puck magazine in 1981. 4 faces were published in the magazine, which were meant to convey astonishment, joy, indifference, and melancholy. They were called “typographical art.”
Emojis, smiley faces, hearts, winking eyes, were created in 1998 by Shigetaka Kurita, an engineer at the Japanese phone company, NTT Docomo. His job was to create a way for customers to communicating using icons. His efforts resulted in the creation of 176 icons, which he called “emojis.” the name is driven from 2 Japanese words “e” (picture) and “moji” (character).
Today, more than 1.800 emojis exist. Emojis have evolved into characters to be used for a millennial language. You can find them in any modern communication means, e.g. in mobile messaging apps such as Pinngle, Viber, WhatsApp, and more.
Reasons Why We Communicate with Emojis and Emoticons
There are cases when a picture means more than a thousand words. Emojis usually don’t have any labels, so their meaning is up to those who use them. However, they often convey an easily identified thought or feeling, so you can understand them in context without difficulty. As of May 2017, there exist 2.666 emojis used in the US.
It’s interesting to note that as of 2015:
- 4% mobile users use emojis several times a day
- 5% use them several times a week
- 9% use them several times a month
- 5% use them several times a year
- 6% use them once a year or less
Below you can read science-based facts concerning the use of emojis and emoticons in your communication. So what do they do?
1. Increase Popularity on Social Media
Based on an analysis of over 31 million tweets and half a million Facebook posts, positive emoticons and emojis can serve as a social media status marker.
2. People React to Them Like a Real Human Face
Scientific studies reveal that when people look at a smiley face online, the same parts of the brain get activated as when they look at a real human face.
3. Can Be Used in Business Settings
Based on a study at University of Missouri, St. Louis, the smiley faces in both work and social emails make the recipient like the sender more and feel that the sender likes him/her more.
4. Soften Criticism
Studies on the way people communicate at a workplace reveal that if negative feedback from a boss is accompanied with positive emoticons, employees don’t feel awfully bad about the message.
5. Increase Friendliness and Competency
Emoticons help people look smarter and more approachable online. A study in the field showed that experts in fields like health and film appeared friendlier and more competent when they communicated using emoticons.
6. Help People Remember What They’ve Read More Easily
The study mentioned in point 5 also revealed that people remember what they’ve read more easily thanks to emoticons.
7. Make a Workplace Happier
According to a study, 152 professionals had to read email messages with and without emoticons. The results showed that emoticons reduced the negative effect of the messages associated with the business.
8. There is a Correlation Between Emoticons and Real-life Happiness
Based on a study, those who use emoticons experience a positive effect on personal interaction, enjoyment, perceived usefulness, and perceived information richness.
Now, you know how important emoticons and emojis can be in reality. Next time you consider sending a message, think about the mentioned points and see how you can communicate better.