Is your BFF using too many emoji too often?
We all know how sending texts can sometimes get misinterpreted. Someone will get offended over a message that is not intended the way it reads. Some people use all capital letters, an overabundance of exclamation points, or too many emojis, expressing much more emotion that is really meant to be sent. And I think we all know at least one person who tries to communicate solely in emoji sentences. Tell me there isn’t room for mis-interpretation there!
It turns out that emojis in text messaging does actually make a difference when is comes to communication. Dr. Monica Riordan is an experimental psychologist who analyzes the affect of emojis on people. She explained, “We use text messaging to communicate with many different types of people: our spouse, coworkers, friends. With each person, we play a different social role: wife or husband, coworker, friend. Each social role requires that you act differently, and we perform these acts to remain in the other person’s good graces. Emojis help us perform those actions via text.”
She conducted a study where participants were asked to rate texts with and without emojis. The results showed that emojis had an overall positive effect. Dr. Riordan said, “I was surprised that I found such a consistent pattern, that across several different text messages and different emojis I found higher levels of joy when emojis were present than not. In retrospect it makes a lot of sense—emojis add an element of playfulness, and that translates into joy.”
But this still means you should inundate the person whom you are communicating with an overabundance of emojis. After all, there comes a point when too many kitty faces, trees, rainbows, and kisses become meaningless and annoying. There is a time to use them and a time to know when it is overkill. And it is also important to consider the relationship you have with each person you are communicating with. You might want to send a dozen kisses to your boyfriend, but not to your co-worker.
But Dr. Riordan also says that emojis serve another function that is to further build a relationship by creating a special language that is private. She explained, “For example, the meaning of a unicorn emoji is often unique to a particular set of interlocutors, and almost never refers to an actual unicorn. The meaning of the unicorn emoji can only truly be known if you are one of the interlocutors. Without that insider knowledge, all we can know for sure is that it symbolizes positive emotion between them.”
So enjoy creating deeper relationships with your emojis! Just remember don’t go crazy with tacos, unicorns and teeny wedges of cheese!
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