I first saw emojis in my text messages about a year ago, when I finally broke down and downloaded an emoji app. I was tired of seeing the code for the emoji and not the actual pictogram when someone would include an emoji in a text. At first I resisted using them, because I felt that they were kind of silly and sophomore-ish, but I gradually began to use the more basic emojis, like Smiling Face, Red Heart, Purple Heart, and Madly In Love Face. They are pretty fun, and they break up the monotony and tedium of typing in a long string of words. I can sometimes get away without even using the qwerty keyboard on my phone, and only using emojis and the talk-to-text function. In some sense, I think emojis have unlocked the imagination and child within us, since they are so whimsical and fun.
I have to admit that I am not completely familiar with the entire emoji collection which is loaded onto my phone, and I often lack the time to scroll through all the emojis to see what I have. In addition, some emojis are a bit deceiving, so I am concerned about using an emoji to convey something, only to find out later that the emoji conveyed something rather different to the textee. For example, the Weary Cat Face appears far more startled than it does weary, as you can see here:
I think I have actually used the Weary Cat Face as a startled cat, and the person who got that emoji assumed I was conveying surprise or shock, rather than the ennui which the official definition of this emoji is meant to express. Does this mean we all have to study the actual meanings of all the emojis we use? That doesn’t seem very spontaneous or fun. In case you have any concern over the emojis you might be using erroneously, you can check the meaning here: http://emojipedia.org/
A fantastic article by Adam Sternbergh was published in the New Yorker Magazine which spoke in great detail about the evolution and significance of emojis. If you are interested in reading it, I have included the link here:
On the one hand, I think it’s wonderful that the brainchild of Shigetaka Kurita (the inventor of emojis) can cross linguistic obstacles and enable people around the world to communicate relatively easily. On the other hand, I am concerned for the fortitude of words, and hope that a collective dumbing-down of society as a whole is not about to expand as a result of the presence of emojis. I groaned when I discovered that a man by the name of Fred Benenson translated the entire tome of Herman Melville’s Moby Dick. If you’re curious to see it, here’s a link to the pdf: http://www.czyborra.com/unicode/emojidick.pdf
Time will tell whether emojis are here to stay.