Does the use of an emoji in place of words convey a different sentiment than the words themselves?
Emojis are certainly more playful, but they also introduce a layer of subjectivity into the message they accompany. As someone whose own use of emojis in everyday communications is objectively gratuitous, I’d argue that employing them as a means to “soften” your message or generally inform the tone is just another apologetic manifestation of a lack of confidence in what you are communicating.
Emojis or no emojis, it’s best to operate under the assumption of good intent when communicating amongst colleagues. You couldn’t have said it better, “people almost never think you’re mean, or arrogant, or overly confident. They are usually happy to get your opinion, and having honest dialogue …is essential to healthy collaboration.”