Emojis should be used in formal correspondence

A lot of our communication is nonverbal — emojis serve as a great way to substitute this in emails

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A collection of pixelated images. Many are recognizable as the emojis we have today, including some like the astrological symbols, road signs, and a few food items.
These 176 symbols are the first emojis. PHOTO: Shigetaka Kurita

By: Jacob Mattie, Opinions Editor

The Spring 2022 semester is in full swing, and though the in-person/online classes debate continues, it’s likely we’ll be interacting with one another mainly through emails and Zoom calls. While Zoom preserves some of the social cues of conversation like facial expression and tone of voice, much is lost in emails. This can lead to the agonizing stretches of rereading your email to your professor, trying to express that you really need the extension on that assignment, but don’t want to come off as too forceful or bootlickey. If only there were some way to express emotion through text!

Well, I have great news for you — there is. 🙂

Emojis and their ilk serve to fill the void between talking and texting. They’re a great way to replace the visual part of communication that is so often lost in the transmission of text. 

Sure, there is some stigma around the usage of emojis 🤔. It could be argued they’re a shortcut around proper usage of language. It’s true that a well thought-out phrase can convey as much depth of emotion as you can care to imagine. Many times, I’ve read books where the focus was not on the story as much as the language it was written in. But crafting an email is not the same as writing a novel, and we should not treat them as the same (emojis in literature? That’s the topic of a different piece). Books are a one-sided exchange, while in emails we would hope the person we are contacting will reply to us. It’s then necessary to carry a more personal, approachable tone.

Sure, we could send emails without emojis, but why? Outdated perceptions on how we should structure our online correspondences? Emails have only been around for a few decades, and the world since then has changed dramatically. Emojis didn’t even exist until 1999! Usage of emojis in communications may be seen by some as unprofessional, with the implication that professionalism is equivalent to callous detachment. As any business student could tell you, the key to a successful business is in good relations. In short, the key is a friendly approachability — exactly what emojis were designed to convey 🤠.

Throughout history, the language that people use to communicate has relied heavily on the resources available. Now, we’ve developed an efficient way of adding personality to our correspondence, so let’s actually use it. If we’ve learned anything over these past few years, it’s that no one really enjoys isolation. As we’re stuck conversing through text anyways, the least we can do is try to make it human.