Our phones are constantly updated with tools that are supposed to make our lives easier. With a click of a button we can change the language/accents of the keyboard, we can mute all notifications, and we can even share our WiFi passwords with devices nearby without having to manually type the passcode. The convenience of quick tools and easy access can be helpful, but eventually, something is bound to go wrong. Emojis, those small digital icons used to express an idea or emotion, are often used to clarify our mood when messaging, but ironically often do the opposite and contribute to daily miscommunication.
A part of this issue can be traced back to the various “fonts” of emojis across platforms. For instance, the same emoji on an Apple device doesn’t look the same as the one on a Samsung. As a result, a huge translation problem is created, where you don’t know what the person you’re talking to is even receiving on their end. Especially when the grimacing face on Apple looks like an extremely happy face on Google, Microsoft, and Samsung, conversations tend to get a bit awkward.
A study was performed that asked people to rate their mood perception of an emoji and the results across these different platforms varied dramatically. Researchers found that, “even people within the same platform wouldn’t agree on whether the emoji leaned positive or negative—Apple’s in-platform sentiment was 1.96, while Google’s was 1.79.”
Additionally, it has become a trend on various social media platforms, like Instagram and Twitter, to use emojis sarcastically, which makes communication with them even more challenging. Personally, I’ve received text messages that said, “Just fell on my stairs and bruised my whole knee! Having a great morning *smiley face emoji*” Admittedly, it’s a comical way to use emojis, but I was confused the first time I started seeing people type like this.
When asked about the situation Tyler Horowitz, a student at The Wheatley School, stated, “It’s pretty funny to confuse the people I’m texting by purposely using the wrong emojis but I’ll admit it has led to some awkward situations and even times where I do use them appropriately, my message doesn’t fully get across.” It’s evident that this is an issue many have experienced with these fun little tools. Since emojis aren’t going anywhere anytime soon, it might be for the best to not rely on them for the purpose of better communication.