Malick Ba

Emoji Culture

March 28, 2017

A few days ago, we posted about an article on how 48 new emoji’s will be released in the near future. As someone who uses emoji’s profusely when texting, snapping, and all that jazz I was intrigued. It got me thinking about how the use of emoji’s through various platforms has become almost an entire method of communication alone. Think about it. We know something is supposed to be funny when we post the laughing emoji with the tears. We know something is sad when we post a heartbreak or a sad faced emoji. And when someone posts the eggplant emoji? Well, I think we all know what that means. As strange as it sounds, emoji’s have become such an ingrained part of the way that millennials communicate with each other.

 

This isn’t new either. Those like myself who were raised using MSN know that emoticons were like the precursor to emoji’s. They allowed us to convey a type of language that transcended speech. Or in many cases, they allowed you to say something without actually saying it. I find it fascinating that they indicate a sense of tonality in communication that doesn’t necessarily translate when using regular symbols like exclamation marks or other various keyboard functions. Over time, the use of these symbols has seemed to evolve into how we use emoji’s.

MSN Emoticons

Dare I say that emoji’s almost have a sense of political undertone within them? What I mean by that is as a part of the release of the new emoji’s, they will include different faces of people including a woman with a headscarf on. To expand on that, this is a clear sign that the developers are looking to diversify the use of emoji’s beyond just your classic smiley faces. Remember when they unveiled that you could change the skin colour of your emoji’s? That brought an entirely different dimension to how we use them and how they represent us on a more personal level.

 

The emoji promoted through Drake’s More Life Album

I’d also like to mention how they’ve been popularized as well. To use a recent example, Drake singlehandedly boosted the use of the pink flower emoji to the absolute max with his latest album More Life. The emoji has almost become a symbol for the album, and a reference to life, happiness and peace. While I don’t necessarily have concrete statistics on how the use of it has increased significantly since the release of More Life, I do know as an avid Instagrammer that I had maybe seen it used once or twice tops. But now it seems to be in everyone’s captions, comments, etc. As an ambassador for Apple, it doesn’t surprise me that Drake and his marketing team made sure that the emoji was included in every recent post, but that’s a different story.

 

Essentially, emoji’s affect the way that millennials interact with each other. We use them to lighten the topic of a conversation, to convey emotion, or to express ourselves in ways that we can’t through words. It’s interesting to see how much our (as millennials) conversational skills have evolved throughout the years. Is it weird that I can’t see myself not using them at this point? Guess we’ll never know.

Malick Ba is an advertising and marketing specialist currently living in Toronto, Canada. As an alumni of both the University of Ottawa and Humber College, Malick specializes in communications, advertising, and marketing. Currently, Malick works at an advertising agency in downtown Toronto and is looking forward to how he can further leave his mark upon the advertising and marketing world. Follow him on Instagram, and connect with him on LinkedIn.

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