Recent research by Ask Your Target Market looked into how people use Emoji, and which new ones they felt they needed. Whilst it is only a light hearted piece of research, it is nevertheless thought provoking.
Ask Your Target Market, an online research firm, looked into how people use Emoji. Emoji are small digital images or icon used to express an idea or emotion in electronic communication.
Actual use of Emoji is quite low, with more than half say they never use Emoji when texting or on social media. When they do, nearly 4 out of 5 people say they 79% say they regularly use 10 or less different Emoji.
However, I have always found the use of Emoji interesting itself. It demonstrates our need to convey context and emotion when communicating electronically, as well as give the recipient an indication of how a statement, sentence or phrase should be interpreted. In some ways it is the electronic equivalent of body language, and as such serves to illustrate how important body language is to communication. The fact that we have found ways to convey those emotions, contexts and inner meaning, even when using a very impassive form of communication, is a clear indication of how important non-verbal communication is in daily life.
And this has implications for all those of us who communicate electronically. It suggests that care an attention needs to be given to how a sentence or phrase might be interpreted when we don’t give the reader enough indication of how it should be interpreted. Can we be sure that the message is received exactly as it was intended when we leave the context to chance? Emoji are just one way of achieving this, but there are others.
And which Emoji do people believe they don’t have, but need? By far the most wanted Emoji was rolling eyes, with just under half saying this was their most needed Emoji. Which means that the emotion we most want to be able to convey, that we can’t already, is a combination of disbelief, frustration or even contempt. One wonders what we all need to roll our eyes at!
But we mustn’t forget the more than half that don’t use emoji. Unfortunately the survey didn’t give us much indication as to why they don’t use them. Perhaps they have found other ways to convey emotion, but perhaps these people use electronic communication more formally. Its difficult to know for certain, without more research.
But it is also fascinating to note that even research that on the surface appears a light hearted piece of work, can have profound implications on how we should communication.