2016, the rise of emojis


I’m calling it.

2016 is the year of emojis. The past year has been famous (or infamous) for many things, but those little faces and pictures that we use in our digital messaging have really etched their way into our lives in 2016.

Love them or hate them, emojis have now emerged as a common language in the modern world. Recently a global financial firm advertised a role for an ‘emoji translator’. The role involves doing as the job title lists; translating emojis in to plain language. It seems strange, but these types of roles will become increasingly necessary as digital technology continues to revolutionise the way we communicate.

So why have emojis become a dialect of the twenty first century? I suggest it’s because we have become increasingly time poor. We live in the now. Everything needs to be instantaneous. A task taking any time to complete is almost too long. It’s quicker to send 👍 than it is to type ‘sounds great’ or ‘well done’.

Over time our desire for fast communication has led us to replace words with emojis. However, I believe this has resulted in a key advantage; context. The use of emojis in digital communication reduces the chance of information being misinterpreted. This is because emojis add personal expression to communication – an element the sole use of words sometimes struggles to convey clearly.

A number of emojis have now become visual definitions for terms. In a world where messages need to be short to be posted to mainstream social networks, the use of emojis allows organisations to quickly communicate standard messaging.  Transport companies are a prime example of this, using emojis to communicate routine issues or announcements on their network.

Before you read the accompanying text, you know there is an issue if you see ⚠:


A closure if you see the ⛔ :


An important announcement if you see the 📢:


Everything is working as it should be (phew!) if you see the ✅:


And, one of my favourite new tricks, you can now tweet select emojis to @Google who will reply with matching venues/outlets nearby:

Move over words – emojis have it covered 💁. The new Apple MacBook has an emoji keyboard, making it easier for us all to use emojis on desktop. This is probably a wise move as even streets are being named with emojis nowadays – well, at least proposed to be in Finland.

Is it time to add fluent in emoji on the CV? Maybe not, but times are changing. The world, and how we communicate with each other in it, is constantly evolving. Soon enough, things that were once new seem normal. We’ll be writing full blog posts in emoji in no time 😜. Well, maybe that’s slightly ambitious, but who knows what 2017 will bring to the world of digital communication…  😁


Feature image: Pietro Zanarini (flickr)