Emojis and Emotion

It is pretty standard to receive a message with a character or a symbol attached to it these days. The emblem suggests our mood and how we would like the message to be accepted.

It's pretty terrific when you think about it. In the past, we had to rely on the state of mind of the recipient, when the message was delivered. Today, we can attach a simple smiley face or thumbs up or even a personalized Bitmoji to convey our intent. The addition to the message can be beneficial.

When email first appeared as a form of communication, many messages were received out of context because of the wording, delivery style or the recipient's state of mind. Mistakes were made because communicating by email was used instead of a face-to-face conversation.

Verbal conversations came with emotion and eye contact. It was easier to understand what was intended for the discussion because it came with body language. It was difficult, at times, for the younger generations to know that a verbal conversation was expected and not a quick text.

Today, we attach something to indicate how we would like the message to be received. For example: "Have a nice day" could mean I want you to have a nice day, or it could mean I'm done with you, go away, please. When we add the image or symbol, it clarifies the intent.

Here's the downside to our little figures and friends. If we use them too much and never speak to anyone directly, we are missing the boat. Nothing replaces the eye contact that goes with a face-to-face conversation. Eye contact shows that we are listening and comprehending what is being said.

Eye contact and verbal responses come with emotion. Emotion can be sympathetic, empathetic, kind, unkind and something more than a symbol. Though our emojis are cute and fun, there are times when they are entirely inappropriate.

When a quick response is needed and may be delivered via email or text, the emojis may work favorably. When a real conversation is necessary to allow us to express emotion, a face-to-face conversation is a must. We were given the gift of a voice for verbal expression of our thoughts, needs, hopes, etc. If we were not meant to use our verbal skills, we would have been born holding a cell phone.

Colleen Harding

I run the Cleveland School of Etiquette and Corporate Protocol.   I am a member St Raphael Women's Guild, Friends of the Westside Catholic Center and The Avon Oaks Women's Golf Association.

I live in Bay Village with my husband and 3 children.   

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Volume 11, Issue 4, Posted 10:03 AM, 02.19.2019