What roles do emoticons and smileys play in Communication
Jokes, sarcastic sentences, and more generally, the mood of the sender of a message can be very difficult to pin down during a digital exchange. Also, a misinterpretation may cause conflict. That’s why emoticons and smileys have become almost indispensable. Indeed, they allow clarifying the meaning of a text. Use of many emoticons apps such as Get talking Smileys is used much today than it was before and it certainly has an effect on our daily communication with friends and family.
More specifically, the studies carried out on this subject show that the emotion represented has several effects:
- It gives information about the sender of the message, especially about his state of mind, his mood, his intention.
- It influences the reader, acting, as it were, as true facial expressions. For example, people reading a mail feel better when the message contains a smile. In addition, this effect on the mood is more marked with a smiley than with an emoticon. This is certainly due to the better visibility of the smiley, as well as its vertical orientation (it is not necessary to turn it mentally).
- It reinforces the emotional content of the message. For example, the smiling smiley reinforces an already positive message.
So, must emoticons and smileys be used at will?
For these communication aids to remain effective, it is necessary to make moderate use of them. Indeed, smileys lose their strength when they are used too often. Generally, one or two emoticons in a relatively short message are more than enough.
Moreover, if emoticons are very widely used among young people, they are also used to a lesser extent in the workplace. Moreover, research has shown that employees attribute greater empathy to their leader when he inserts one or two smileys into his emails. On the other hand, beyond two emoticons, this same leader loses credibility and authority to his employees.
Emoticons and personality
This study of emoticons offers very wide possibilities. One question that we can ask ourselves is whether the emoticons we are used to using say something about our personality, beyond the context of immediate communication of which they are part.
Thus, according to a small experiment, the usual use of the laughing smiley would speak of excessively joking personalities, the use of the laughing smiley showing his teeth would indicate a defensive personality and the excessive use of any animal, like the octopus, would say much about a person who has problems to bond with others.
These notes are just a product of curiosity because the study had too many methodological flaws for us to consider these conclusions as solid. However, it is certain that it opens a very rich field of study, which is worth exploring because if there is something certain, it is that these emoticons have arrived to stay. For more information on talking smileys, see other posts from our blog.