In this era of digital communication, the growing cast of available emoji seems a convenient and fun way to enrich your message. The plethora of colorful options lends your communication a palette unavailable to classic writers. Use them to reduce your keystrokes (a lion image instead of the word "lion"), add emphasis (balloons, streamers and a cake after "happy birthday" ), or convey emotion (choose a happy face among the dozens of options ). Lately I've been pondering the hidden pitfalls behind these seemingly harmless characters. I loften use humor when communicating and tend to be liberal with the range of meanings I ascribe to any given icon. I assume people will get my drift and, if they don't, no harm done. Right? Maybe. Maybe my lack of guile and hipness blinds me to inadvertent double entendre (or, worse, insult). What if there is a secret thesaurus people use to decrypt the hidden meaning in these pictures? Is one smiley face more appropriate than another for a given circumstance 🤨🧐? Does the color of the heart I chose to signal appreciation mean something specific ️? Does replacing a heart with a peach send the wrong message ? (this heart shaped fruit was in my recently used emoji due to my año viejo effigy, and I may have subsequently used them interchangeably).
I suppose that's a chance you take, particularly when delving into humor. There is only so much mind reading you can expect from your audience. We all have our own background, perspective and baggage. Hopefully you know me well enough to see through any miscommunication and know I meant well. Then again, maybe I should refrain from their use altogether. I have mixed emotions over emoticons and my cognitive dissonance makes me feel like I have a double-standard. On one hand I have convinced myself I'm clever and my emoji use is hilarious. On the other hand, I find a response with three teary-eyed smiley faces both irking and loathsome (whoever designed that emoji should be summarily shot ). Maybe I should stick to safe emoji like the donut. It's sweet, simple and leaves no room for misinterpretation. Or not.