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EMOJI: primrose path or EQ booster?

I’ve found myself again resorting to usage of emoji outside of digital sphere (as if it’s just fine using it here by default). While I am clearly enthusiast when it comes to technology and digital context in general – it made me reflect on why we are doing such thing and in which ways such habits are changing our communications or if they simply reflect change that already took place in a more complex set of circumstances.

Note also that Oxford Dictionaries, as owned by the Oxford University Press (OUP), has announced its “word” of the year 2015 is – emoji. This is one more indicator how wide spread these habits are.

From where this almost automatic urge to place emoji in certain sentences is coming? Would be obvious to conclude that it might come out of frequent use of online communication tools, as a wish for clarity (i.e. let’s make sure he/she is getting it’s a joke etc.) or to add a tone to the message (i.e. let’s put a smiley to express that the message is sent in a good will etc.). Some research says that it helps youth to easier express their emotions.

I already see ‘how we did it before internet’ argument coming up to mind. And counter-argument - it saves some time in comparison to additional elaboration with words? It introduces non-verbal aspect which is actually closer to real communication vs. written?

Why so much pressure to exclude possibility of misunderstanding (by adding visual as additional help in understanding)? Is avoiding confrontation/conflict/diversity of some kind so important? Are we afraid that the other side will discount us or jump to conclusions about us without trying to confirm assessment made? Or we are discounting others and their ability to understand us without visual representation of thoughts?

Is being time-efficient in this context going to gradually somewhat degrade our ability to use words to express ourselves? (Note difference in not saying ‘language’ but ‘words’) Obviously, this is imposing a precondition that expression through words is highly valued by one, especially knowing that’s only one OF the channels through which communication may be established.

There are psychologists who argue also that using emojis is positively influencing one’s emotional intelligence. While this may be true to some extend and in some way, is it also possible to go in opposite direction? Such as using emoji as an acceptable way NOT to recognize or name an emotion which is occurring? To illustrate: for exp. we sometimes tend to say ‘It feels stupid’ which is failure to name shame or embarrassment and therefore deal with it in a constructive way. Along the same lines, can emojis prevent confrontation with ‘naming things as they are’? Can they influence development of abstract thinking with child? Or I went too far (J).

Or they are simply just reflecting what we are already and nothing more than that…

Are we associating them with immaturity and under-developed communication simply because they are mostly used by younger generations, still?

While I have no definite opinions on all of those angles, I believe that my usage of the word ‘resort’ in the first paragraph is hinting to the value I give to vocabulary and resistance to keep leaning on visual in order to improve self-expression. And what about you?  

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