Do emojis belong in the workplace? You decideWednesday 22 June 2022
World Emoji Day 📅 is on 17 July, and 2022 marks 25 years since the first faces appeared in digital writing.
Back in the late 1990s, around the same time that emoticons – sideways faces made out of punctuation, such as 🙂 or :’( – were developing in the early Anglophone internet chatrooms, another form of digital face was starting to catch on in Japan: kaomoji (literally “face characters”). These are similar to emoticons, but not turned sideways: ¯(ツ)/¯.
Gradually, it became more and more popular to send picture messages on mobile phones, but this used up a lot of data. So, to address this problem, in 1997 Japanese company SoftBank decided to encode 90 of the most commonly used pictures as the equivalent of text characters – meaning, for example, that you just had to type in the code 2764 to display a heart ❤️.
It wasn’t just a fad. By 2010, 608 symbols had been standardised and incorporated into Unicode. Wanting to appeal to the Japanese market, Apple and Android then introduced emoji capabilities to their phones in the early 2010s. By 2015, the 😂 emoji had surpassed the 🙂 emoticon – and emojis (e “picture” + moji “character”) as we know them today have only grown in scope and popularity since.
They’ve embedded themselves in our lives so thoroughly that it’s hard to imagine life without them. And given the proliferation of remote and flexible working, many of us are now communicating more with our colleagues in writing than vocally. It raises the question of whether emojis, GIFs and stickers are appropriate at work – or not…
What do you think?
Read on for some food for thought and let us know what you think on social! 📣
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