Some people say that space is the final frontier for science. For others, its emojis. Who are we to cast judgement on which line of research is better? Attempts at humour aside, many of us use emojis to some extent, but how many of us read into the psychology behind what emojis we use, and for what reason? The following piece of research addresses this exact question. One of the key themes that emerge is the use of emojis as a way to create shared and secret uniqueness:
You just make little stories… you just start playing around with the emojis… like send a picture of a moon with a face on it, and then they would send me back like a cow, and I would send them back a turtle, and it doesn’t mean anything, but it’s just sort of funny… it eventually develops into a story. Or like a little game, where you have to like guess what they’re trying to say with all the pictures.
A fascinating insight that dovetails into research research that shows how gossip releases oxytocin – the so-called ‘love’ hormone. The same intimacy that’s created through having a shared secret parallels that of gossip, and on a biological level, its identical. What about you – how do you use emojis?
Characterising the Inventive Appropriation of Emoji as Relationally Meaningful in Mediated Close Personal Relationships
Emoji are two-dimensional pictographs that were originally designed to convey emotion between participants in text-based conversation. This workshop paper draws on interview data to describe ways in which emoji have been appropriated in pursuit of other relationally meaningful behaviours in contemporary messaging applications. We speculate that the presence of appropriable tools like emoji might influence the selection of a communication channel for particular types of mediated conversation.
Authors: Brian Kelly & Leon Watts