It seems so innocent, so cheerful, yet this simple combination of a single colon and parenthesis is the bane of many people’s existence. Since its first smiling appearance in a 1953 New York Herald Tribune ad this emoticon (i.e. emoji) has been the inspiration of many internal and external debates that can range from simply deciphering its crypt meaning to forming an appropriate response.
The smiley face, and many more, emoji has overcome our society’s communication socially and professionally. Everyone is guilty of overusing it on social media and in text, but what most probably don’t realize is how much it is also used it in the workplace communication.
According to a survey conducted by Cotap and Kelton Global, while 81% say that they struggle to convey emotion in digital communications, only 75% of workers are actually willing to use emoticons at work. This is most likely because of they seen as unprofessional or misinterpreted.
However, The Huffington Post views emoticons as a necessary evil in digital correspondence because it is swiftly becoming the most popular form of communication in the professional realm. Nonetheless, while emojis are great for lending empathy to the toneless voice of emails, there is such a thing as overuse.
One of the best tips of using emoticons in workplace communication is to know your audience. If you are familiar with the person(s), and are coworker buddies then go ahead and use them. However, do so sparingly because just like in social media, remember the golden rule that less is more.