While the direction in which we’re heading may have become obvious to some for a while now, actual flags were only raised last year, when the laughing emoji with tears of joy was voted as the Oxford dictionary’s word of the year. But while some are talking about a significant language shift, others are more worried than excited.
With emojis taking over the language, it’s hard to pinpoint exactly where the shift has started, as well as how it will turn out. It’s definitely a language shift, but will it work out for the best or for the worst? Initial impressions would suggest that it’s the second option, since apparently emojis are a source of great confusion, particularly across different platforms.
Ok, so the point is that with the amount of emojis we’re using in our daily speech, be it via text message, social media comment, or other platforms that supports emojis, it’s impossible to maintain the same message we’re trying to transmit. It’s basically like a game of Chinese Whispers (Russian Scandal, for some).
The biggest issue is that depending on the platform you and your interlocutor are communicating from, the message might be completely turned around. The reason for this is that the different platforms sometimes display their emoticons in totally different ways, making cross-platform communication difficult.
According to a team of researchers from the University of Minnesota there are many ways in which you can mistakenly interpret a text message depending on the emoticons used. One prime example of a misunderstanding happens to occur when using the “grinning face with smiling eyes” emoji.
While on some platforms (like Samsung, Google, LG, and even Microsoft) the emoji looks like it is described, grinning excitedly about something, on other platforms (Apple, Facebook, and Twitter) it looks more like a clenched-teeth look of anxious constipation. Expectedly, there will be some misunderstandings.
But this isn’t only some personal description of the two. In fact, while asked to rate the emojis by sentiment on a scale from -5 to 5, the positive looking ones got 3, while the negative looking ones got -1. This for the exact same emoji, but as displayed on different platforms. So the plot thickens.
Now you might be seeing the actual problem. If these symbols are becoming so popular in our day to day speech, we’re heading for some troublesome times. If they are not made to look like each other across all platforms, we’re only going to complicate our lives even more by adding an extra source of unnecessary misunderstanding in our communication.
Image source: Pixabay