Weeknote #2 — Why do we emoji?

aka “laughing tears”

We were brainstorming ways to lighten up the Bellow experience this week and for better or worse, we immediately gravitated towards bringing in emojis. There’s something about emojis that exude straight up fun, right? And that got us thinking…why are emojis so fun and what does the rise in emoji usage of late say about how we communicate.

You have to be living under a rock to not notice that emojis are EVERYWHERE. It just takes one emoji-laden text from your mom to know that emojis have truly gone mainstream. But, the path from esoteric symbol to commonplace texting language was a long time in the making. Emojis have been around since the late 90s but it is only over the last few years when emojis have become commonplace in our digital messages. This is partly the result of Apple and Google baking the emoji keyboard into iOS and Android but we think there’s something larger at play here.

Imagine a world where all communications were text-based. No spoken words, no facial expressions. What would it be like to communicate in that world? The number one piece we’d lose is the ability to discern tone. Surely you’ve sent a sarcastic email or text that was misunderstood by the receiving party because it’s hard to convey tone in written text. You have to write well to convey those subtleties and writing well takes a lot of time so we don’t do it. That’s where emojis come in.

Emojis are an easy way to add tone and intonation back into our text communications. This is especially true for facial expression emojis like the one at the beginning of this post. There’s something special about seeing the facial expression with which our text-based communications are delivered.

And at Bellow, we’re working on bringing this natural expression and nuanced tone back into our communications because doing so often leads to more efficient and effective communication (especially when emotions are involved), but most of all, it leads to our communications being more human.

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