World Emoji Day: 'Emojis convey feelings when human faces can't'
'When social distancing is being observed everywhere, emojis have added a positive note and lightness to communication'
As face-to-face in-person conversations are declining amid Covid-19 restrictions, emojis offer the much-needed relief, experts believe. At the workplace, home or elsewhere, an emoji can communicate mood, feelings and emotions like nothing else. 'Face with tears of joy', 'smiling face with hearts', 'thumbs up' or 'folded hands' add character and body language to a simple text message.
"When social distancing is being observed everywhere, I believe emojis have been helpful in adding a positive note and lightness to communication and the whole situation. Even if the content is stressful, appropriate emojis might help in decreasing the stress levels and provoke more favourable emotional response," Dr Vedrana Mladina, counselling team leader, New York University Abu Dhabi, said.
"The smiling or laughing emojis have a positive social contagion effect. And let's not forget the face mask emoji and its popularity during this time. It's due to our current reality and necessity to wear face masks that's being reflected and integrated into everyday communication. LOL emojis are popular and I believe the ones expressing gratitude and love are even more popular at this time."
Dr Mladina said an emoji conveys and covers every aspect of human behaviour. "The psychological impact of an emoji on people is diverse. It started off as a fun addition to online communication, but it now ranges from assessing different levels of emotional self-expression to even making judgements about somebody's personality traits based on their usage of emoji."
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'Shows a person's state of mind'
Dr Mohamed Yousaf, specialist psychiatrist, Aster Clinic - Mutheena, noted people can convey emotions of love, happiness, sadness, anger, fear and surprise through emojis - an aspect that reflects a person's current state of mind
"Most of the time a person's emotions are shown in the emojis shared by them."
Dr Yousaf said a person can use emoji as a "useful tool" in many day-to-day situations.
"When somebody wants to say something straight, you put a 'folded hands' along with that so that may not feel rude. It can be a useful tool for communication in many such situations.
He stressed the trend of using emojis is on the rise, especially among youngsters.
'Use emojis in moderation'
Dr Mladina underlined that even as emojis are getting more sophisticated and personalised, they shouldn't be a substitute for human interaction.
"I believe they'll be playing an increasingly bigger role in everyday communication, but cannot and should not ever fully replace written communication and our efforts to express emotions with words."
She felt if taken out of context, an emoji may be misinterpreted or lessen the importance of the message.
"Like with everything in life, best is to use emojis in moderation. I use them more with my children and some of my friends I am closer to. I almost never use it in a professional context, although it's not uncommon nowadays, especially on social media."
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