Does the Emoji make us lazier?

Emoticons (Emojis) have seen a drastic increase in use since their creation in 1982 as a joke mark, to now, as a way to express emotions to friends, and family. What was once only a ‘:-)’ has now spread to over 1,300 different types of faces, signs, flags, and objects, many available on every smartphone, modern computer and tablet. This sudden increase has sparked controversy over whether it is a ‘lazy’, and ironically a less ‘social’ way to communicate with someone.

With an estimated 80% of socially active people using it to illustrate personal feelings, the Emoji seems to extend social contact. So how can this be seen as ‘less social’? Well for many centuries, humans have deemed it most appropriate to communicate using text. Sure, there was widespread use of the telephone from the late 1980’s, but the cheapest and quickest form of communication was by letter. In the telephone’s early days, it was used mostly for business reasons. From then communication has been replaced by more simple and much quicker options like Facebook Messenger, SMS; and also visual options like Snapchat, MMS and Instagram. People do complain about these instruments of communication, questioning whether they limit face-to-face socialising, but the question of whether we are developing lazier options for ourselves seems to be asked a lot. So is the Emoji all ‘con’, or does it have its positive attributes?

The argument could be made that the more we use these modern types of contact, the less we use grammar. We are less likely to learn from our mistakes, search and learn words and their meanings; overall, we lose a valuable part of our parents and grandparents’ life: writing and reading.

However, this is not absolutely true – There will most likely never be a day when we communicate using only Emojis. The benefits of using Emojis actually outweigh the negatives: when in a rush, would it be easier to type a sentence, then proofread it, or to simply pick an Emoji? The common saying “a picture is worth one thousand words” comes into play when talking about this. The same parts of the brain, which pick up emotions from a face, are used when looking at an Emoji: You know what one face means, and when sending that face, or when receiving it, you are prone to an emotional response.

The emoticon seems to have given us an insight to how our future will be – creative. We have found a universal language, one that allows us to communicate in such a way, that we are able to send our feelings, in an instant, without having to analyse it, because it is not meant to be used seriously. Although some might debate, we are losing contact with the ‘real world’, I personally think we are just learning from our mistakes.


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