The growth of emojis in texts, social media posts, emails and even website URLs has grown hugely in the last five years. But a few of you might be asking, what is an emoji?
You might not know the name, but you’ll certainly recognise them. The official explanation is an digital image or icon used to express an idea or emotion in an electronic communication. Firstly brought to the masses by adding emoji keyboards to iPhones and then rolled out to all other major platforms. Emojis allow for fun and fast substitutes to words.
Now most of us will think why do I need to replace words with symbols, writing isn’t that difficult but the way we communicate is changing. Especially with the launch of new devices such as the Apple Watch. Even the advert encourages people to use less words; mainly due to the restricted size of the watch face, rather than for our benefit I suspect….
In 2014 the Global Language Monitor found that the most popular word in blogs, Twitter, Facebook and 250,000 news outlets wasn’t even a word. But in fact the heart emoji. Showing this isn’t a fad but a change in the way we are communicating as individuals and now it seems with institutions and brands.
Now emojis have gone beyond just showing how we feel they can creatively generate narratives, quote Shakespeare or showcase your knowledge of the lyrics to the Fresh Price of Bel Air
Or even the famously private tennis player Andy Murray sharing with the world’s media his take on his wedding day.
— Andy Murray (@andy_murray) April 11, 2015
Earlier this month UK firm, Intelligent Environments launched an emoji alternative to the traditional digit PIN number. The rationale, there are only so many combinations of PIN numbers with the traditional 1-9 choices, where as Intelligent Environments have 44 different emojis allowing for a much larger range of possibilities providing for more secure banking. As well as research showing that memory for images is greater than that for numbers, so we should have less instances of forgotten PINs.
At the beginning of 2015 Mailchimp introduced the use of emojis in subject lines and since February has already had 214,000 campaigns sent out with them included. Big brands have jumped on this band wagon including Banana Republic, Instyle and Expedia.
They say a picture is worth a thousand words so could the surge of emojis dawn the beginning of the end of the written word? Probably not, but they do put a smile on your face and your phone.