To emoji or not emoji — smiley face etiquette


Geoff Augutis from Queensland Computers in Bundaberg ponders one of the big issues of our time — smiley face etiquette and to emoji or not emoji.

There are subtle differences between talking to someone on the phone or in person.

You miss facial expressions and body language as your cue.

On the phone however you still have your voice tools of pitch, tone, volume and pace.

Enter stage “text”, we are now down to selecting language to get our point across.

Since the use of text for communication (yes even old school letters) we could use colour, style (font), bold and underline.

Creation of the emoji

It wasn’t until around the turn of the millennium that Shigetaka Kurita invented the “emoji”.

Colourful, cute, tiny pictures that we can use to display our emotions/feelings in graphic form.

emoji etiquette
Emojis are cute but are they appropriate for business use?

It is then no surprise why young adults in 2019 love their emoji; they were born to that world.

For the rest of us however, particularly in business/work scenarios we are often left wondering “when to emoji”?

First things first, the laws of body language still apply in this brave new world.

One thing we are often taught with body language is to mirror the other person. If their handshake is firm, ours should be too and so on.

Therefore if somebody emojis you, feel free to emoji them right back.

This rule also applies to the type and quantity of the emoji.

There is a big difference to putting a tongue poke ???? after a joking remark than there is finishing a statement with 32 of your favourite mixed emojis.

Not only is this going to confuse your recipient, but they may also encourage you to seek counselling.

Ultimately the emoji is now very socially acceptable across many uses, scenarios and demographics.

It is simply there to benefit communication and help you to understand the other person's intent.

Whether it is a social chat where you are merely having a yarn or a work email that is designed to communicate a message, if this tool helps you get your point across, why not use it?