The emoji infiltration

Thursday, November 9, 2017 Permalink

I remember when acronyms and basic emojis / emoticons first became a thing. I’d just joined an online dating site – sometime in the mid 2000s – and basically struck off any guy who dared insert an LOL into his profile. Urgh.

Interestingly I’ve never been an LOLer. I still don’t even know what many acronyms mean and have had to google NSFW and the like. I’ve mentioned before, however…. my fondness for WTF and it’s more-shocked big brother, WTAF.

I must also confess to using smiley faces, winking faces and the lopsided grin thing which helps ensure people know I’m being sarcastic – though given that’s usually the case they should just make that assumption.

On top of which however, it seems I’ve (more recently) also developed a penchant for the ‘thumbs up’ symbol.

As an aside, I should mention, I’m yet to use the poo emoji, though I bear it no grudges and am sure I will call on it at some point. 🙂

the emoji infiltration

I’ve been pondering this lately as I’ve been thinking how much they’ve permeated our lives. Emojis. And this informal way of communicating.

In my workplace I’ll occasionally have ‘to and fro’ email conversations. And occasionally I’m tempted to add a smiley face. So the recipient knows I’m joking. Or being funny. (Though how they could not ever think I was hilarious is beyond me.)

The number of times I waste my energy typing back a ‘thanks’ or an ‘okay’ could easily be minimised if I could hit a ‘thumbs up’ button instead. So my receipt of their email / advice or whatever is acknowledged but no further comment is necessary. Indeed, friends with whom I DM a lot will attest to my love of the ‘thumbs up’ symbol.

But far more worrying is the fact I’ve started doing the thumbs-up thing in real life. Accidentally. Not often, but in certain situations. I was at the hairdressers a while ago when I noticed it the first time. It was noisy and when someone checked up on me I found myself giving them the thumbs up and being a little horrified with myself. Yet later – at the same appointment – when my hairdresser explained how long I’d have sh*t on my head (damn, I could have used the poo emoji then!) I responded with a thumbs up. Again.

It felt weird. I noticed I did it but it was also a reflex of sorts. And it’s continued. I was in a colleague’s office this week and we’d finished the conversation and she made some last minute comment or something… and I did a thumbs up in response.

So I wonder, is my (increasingly lazy) written world really permeating the rest of my life? And where will this stop?
How do you feel about emojis and acronyms? Are you a lover or hater?

The Lovin’ Life team includes:

40 Comments
  • Sydney Shop Girl
    November 9, 2017

    My son who’s nearly five LOVES the thumbs up action. Not sure if it’s emoji related but it does warm my hear when he does the thumbs up at me.

    I’m guilty of emoting with my emojis. The winking face is my favourite. Gets used alot on twitter in case my tone isn’t appreciated in the words I use.

    Sometimes when I receive texts I don’t know how to reply properly to, emojis get whipped out again. A way of saying I’ve received the message in the first place. Sometimes for me, emojis fill in the gaps of weaknesses in the way I communicate with others.

    SSG xxx

    • Debbish
      November 9, 2017

      I’m the same… Texts / Tweets / DMs can be so easily misconstrued I find myself often putting something at the end so everyone knows I’m joking or being a princess etc… (though for the latter it’s usually a hashtage like #firstworldproblem)

  • Vanessa
    November 9, 2017

    I thumbs up people in real life from time to time. Usually sarcastically, because my thumbs are sarcastic.

    • Debbish
      November 9, 2017

      I’m almost old enough to feel as if I remember when the ‘thumbs up’ became a thing… meaning ‘right on’ or something. I’d google it if I was less lazy!

  • Jo
    November 9, 2017

    I love an emoji, but only use smileys & winkies at work – mainly because they’re the only ones I know how to do without an actual emoji. Sometimes in an email you have to – because not everyone has the same sense of humour as I do.

    • Debbish
      November 9, 2017

      I probably don’t know my new workmates enough yet and didn’t really have any close colleagues in my old role… but I’ve been tempted!

  • Lydia C. Lee
    November 9, 2017

    I’m not a fan – I get that they’re here to stay but they just seem a why to say even less to each other. I do like winky face to give tone because I often come across like I’m being rude when I’m actually being funny…

    • Debbish
      November 9, 2017

      Yes, I’m very same the same with the winky face Lydia. It’s funny as there are certain emojis (well, acronyms I guess) that I won’t use and I can be a bit judgemental about them!

  • Suger
    November 9, 2017

    I too have taken my love of all things emoji into real life with thumbs up. I have no idea how that happened or why, but it did! I don’t mind emojis and agree they can make something super fast to respond too. That said, nothing says ‘fuck off’ like the ‘okay hand emoji’. Haha.

    • Debbish
      November 9, 2017

      I have to admit I don’t know what a lot of the hands ones mean. High five vs praying vs whatever… I tend to stick with the basics though have started occasionally inserting a birthday cake or bottle of champagne for birthday comments etc.

  • Amy Andrews
    November 9, 2017

    I love emoji’s and LOL – think these are great ways to express tone in written communications where sometimes that can be lost. And I’m conscious of not being some old woman stuck in her ways muttering about the younger generation and the degredation of the written and spoken word etc etc. I’m okay with moving with the times and always use shortened words in texts etc. Like u for you and 2 for to, two, too etc. And I dont care if I get the same back in texts etc as long as I can understand it.
    Although, yeah…not used the poo emoji either…

    • Debbish
      November 9, 2017

      When my niece was little (and must have had a mobile?) I remember being very careful to spell everything correctly as I was conscious that she was learning to spell and didn’t want her to not know how to spell 2mrw. 🙂

  • Kelli
    November 9, 2017

    Some emoji are great time savers. But have moved on to gifs, lots of fun, and can waste lots of time looking for the perfect one.

    • Debbish
      November 9, 2017

      Do you believe I’ve never used a gif?! I’ve seen a lot of those ‘tell me x using a gif’ and I don’t even know how to create them!

  • leannelc
    November 9, 2017

    I’m a big fan of the smiley face – it takes the edge off a lot of written comments (altho my fellow worker got slapped down for using it on a quick sticky note to ask the boss something – his wife thought it was “inappropriate”!)

    • Debbish
      November 9, 2017

      Oh wow, that’s a bit full-on. I almost put a ‘x’ kiss at the end of something recently and had to wonder if it was too informal. (It was something on line and I can’t even remember who it was responding to, but it was a male. I wouldn’t have thought twice if it was a female I realised at the time.)

  • Jo Castro
    November 9, 2017

    I only ever used to use a smiley face, but now I’ve become a bit more adept at emojis I tend to waste far too much time searching for what I think is the right one (or several) and insert them all over the place. Probably confusing all and sundry with my haphazard thinking! I especially like inserting them on Instagram because they add a nice bit of colour and character (I think!).

    • Debbish
      November 10, 2017

      I tend to do it on Instagram as well (more than anywhere else) cos it’s nice to add a birthday cake / flamingo dancer / champagne to a message. Interestingly my friend’s 6yr old LOVES playing on my phone so I open the Notes app for him and he goes wild with the emojis. As a result my ‘most used’ or favourites are all sorts of weird and wonderful things I’ve never used!

  • kathymarris
    November 9, 2017

    Like most technology, I fully embraced emoticons, but for ages I refused to use acronyms. I think I found acronyms to be the lazy way out and would obstinately type a full sentence rather than use them. However I’m now a full-on LOL’er and OMG’er. I think it just takes me time to get used to new things. I really like using them now. #TeamLovinLife

    • Debbish
      November 10, 2017

      Ah yes…. I think acronyms are probably the same as any other words / language. We like some and have our favourites, but perhaps draw the line at others!

  • Kate W
    November 9, 2017

    I don’t love them but like you, use them as a shortcut. That said, I occasionally like to annoy my children (!) with an acronym, at which point they roll their eyes. Hard.

    • Debbish
      November 10, 2017

      My acronym use tends to be limited to a few faves, so I do often have to look some up. But I suspect I also make some up sometimes for the same reason you mention – as a shortcut.

  • writeofthemiddle
    November 9, 2017

    I’m rather fond of emoji’s because they help get the *expression* into my typed words. So many times people can misinterpret the written word and take offence…so I like being able to do a wink or a smile to help clarify the *tone* in which the typed words are said. I like a thumbs up to respond but end the conversation (let’s face it we all have people we know that keep conversations going beyond what they need to with their – thank you’s and ok’s and stuff. I like to end it with a thumbs up!) I have yet to thumbs up anyone in real life yet though! #TeamLovinLife

    • Debbish
      November 10, 2017

      I was a bit horrified when I found myself doing it Min. I’m sure I must have used the thumbs up at some point in the past – to indicate all was good or okay or something. Maybe. But the fact I’m doing it with some regularity is a bit scary.

  • Denyse Whelan
    November 9, 2017

    Oh this was fun to read. I asked for an emoticon dictionary recently and was howled down. Why? Well, my eyes are old, and yes I do wear glasses but some of this little critters are very hard for me to work out. I use(d) the blowing a kiss emoticon because that’s what I thought I was doing, but some people say it’s flirting. OH. Ah well. And what about with the thumbs up now and choosing what colour skin to use. Oh stop. So, I started doing the thumbs up when I was recovering in hospital. It kind of seemed appropriate when my speech was hard to understand by some people…but when I noticed I was doing it, I kind of stopped myself. Mind you, sometimes I clap watching a TV program. All the secrets are coming out tonight! Oh, and have you added a X at the end of a work email yet?? D x

    • Debbish
      November 10, 2017

      No x at the end of a work email yet Denyse but I’ve been close! And I love that you clap during TV shows. I used to think it was weird that I’d sometimes physically cringe with embarrassment (close my eyes) at characters’ actions or the like but then when my niece was very little noted she hid her face (as if she couldn’t look) when someone was doing something on TV which would obviously come back to bite them. Unless it’s some weird hereditary thing it occurred to me that we’re all more similar than we think!

  • Emma
    November 9, 2017

    I can’t do text speak at all – I think I developed a slight anger towards abbreviations as I used so many at work and they now irk me. I’m a bit the same with emojiis – though I do use the smiley face etc. on my blog comments – just so people know I’m happy, joking etc. I am sure at some point we’ll stop using words altogether!

    • Debbish
      November 10, 2017

      God forbid Emma. I love words!!!!

      And yes, work acronyms can be the worst. I managed a project once which involved looking at my department’s briefing and correspondence processes and documents (so Minister’s speeches, briefing notes, letters to the public and so forth) and I became very anal about ensuring that we didn’t use a lot of technical terms and identified acronyms to readers etc… Having said that I sometimes sit in meetings now and find myself espousing a sentence that is almost completely full of acronyms and the like.

  • Carol Cameleon
    November 10, 2017

    I love this! I never had a smartphone until about a year ago and since them I’ve been emoji-ing all the way. GIFs are another matter though and do nothing for me… Great post to share with #HighlightsofHappy thanks. (there, I typed it!)

    • Debbish
      November 10, 2017

      I like gifs – well some – but am yet to work out how to do them Carol. I suspect I’ll get there eventually but for the moment I’m happy with my little emoji and acronym habit. Oh, and my #hashtagfetish

  • Life Images by Jill
    November 10, 2017

    my son does the “thumbs up” thing – I just figure he can’t be bothered speaking! Oh how has writing come down to this – emojis! Have we forgotten how to have a real conversation? I received a letter from my elderly aunt the other day. It was so lovely. (normally we speak on the phone). But it did take me back to those days of writing letters to my Mum and Aunt. So I sat right down and wrote back to here. I am hoping she will write a letter back! Have a “thumbs up” weekend and thanks for visiting my blog this week “tick”.

    • Debbish
      November 13, 2017

      I very rarely hand-write anything these days except lists for myself and the like. Whenever I have to hand-write something – like a birthday card or similar I find I struggle to make it neat enough to be legible!

  • sizzlesue15
    November 11, 2017

    Where would we be without emojis Deb? LOL:) My husband uses LOL and thinks it means Lots of Love – LOL 🙂 I find I’m using emojis more with texts and messages – is this because we are lazy now as a society or does an emoji just sum up how we feel? Anyway ‘thumbs up’ to your post and TGIF!

    • Debbish
      November 13, 2017

      I was to-ing and fro-ing with some friends this past weekend re plans and noticed I was constantly using the thumbs-up! I’m a little more paranoid about it now that I’ve noticed it!

  • seizetheday20
    November 12, 2017

    I’m not a huge emjoi user, but I do like the smiley face ….you may have noticed 🙂 #TeamLovinLife

    • Debbish
      November 13, 2017

      I sometimes look at the emoji face options and really don’t know / understand the difference between some of them. I worry I often use something entirely inappropriate without realising!

  • Leanne @ Deep Fried Fruit
    November 13, 2017

    I’m a big lover of the smiley face. In fact. I’m renowned for it. It’s even infiltrated my Cheer Chick Charlie branding and MO and I use it a lot as the comms person for the local soccer club. I’m always signing off with a smiley face (even when the person at the other end is pissed off – LOL). Oops! There’s an LOL. I’m also a ROFL girl. And I LOVE LOVE LOVE FFS. My all time fave swear acronym. I accidentally used a “flipping the bird” emoji recently thinking it was something else. I didn’t have my glasses on. Oops. xoxo

    • Debbish
      November 13, 2017

      Oh yes, I’m a big user of FFS as well! Though mostly I say the entire thing under my breath. Far too often.

  • middleagedmamaoz
    November 19, 2017

    I know a smiley face or whatever is supposedly not professional, but I still like to use it in emails to clients at times, let’s them know I’m a real person not a robot and if they can’t handle it they’re not my sort of client. It’s too easy for things to be misinterpreted in emails so emojis help make things clear.

    • Debbish
      November 20, 2017

      It’s funny because since writing that post I’ve had a couple of work people insert a smiley face in an email.

      And, I’ve done some ‘all-staff’ emails for my work group and inserted a few of my sarcastic comments and they’ve been well received!

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