Dubai: According to a study, the emoji phenomenon has the two billion smart phone users around the world send over six billion emojis every day.
The statistics taken from studies done by Swift Media, a mobile engagement platform, were highlighted by Dubai psychologist Dr Saliha Afridi, clinical psychologist and director of LightHouse Arabia.
So what is the appeal behind using emojis? Why are we so fond of picking up one of the yellow bubbles with myriad expressions to communicate our mood, attitude, or feelings?
Dr Saliha believes that the use of emojis is a fast, simple and precise way to reflect an emotion when body language and facial expression cannot be directly conveyed face-to-face in that moment. “An emoji using colours, gestures, and faces can often be a better way of conveying one’s feelings, especially when the written word is often flat, and black and white,” she said.
Research has showed that people’s brain reacts the same way to an emoji as they would to a person’s face — especially with universal facial expressions such as anger, surprise or a smile, explained Dr Saliha.
“Saying ‘I am smiling now’ isn’t the same as seeing a smiley face on the screen,” she said.
Just the same, typing ‘go for it’ takes a lot longer than a thumbs up.
In spoken language, words only make up part of the communication — the rest is left to body language and facial expressions. However, in written language, texts or emails may not convey all of a person’s emotions and feelings because they lack facial expression and intonation, explained Dr Saliha.
In today’s digitalised world, most communication has become online whether it’s personal, professional or social.
“When verbal communication is mostly avoided and texting has become rather the rule of the day, emojis do help enrich text communication. It is here that the prominence of emojis come into play,” said Prema Kamath, Managing Partner, RAD & Partners, Legal Consultancy in Dubai.
However, just like other online tools, emojis can be misused.
People can fake what is tried to be conveyed in certain situations by using emojis when in reality they might not be experiencing the same emotion, explained Prema.
“Plastic communication tends to develop between individuals, which can result in a loss of the real emotional flavour in the relationship,” he said.
This trend, however, is here to stay. While the first smiley emoji may have started with a colon and a bracket, technology has taken the world of emojis to new levels. Whatsapp, now offers users more than 800 emojis, while facebook has created its own range emojis and stickers. So don’t fight it, embrace it and emojis on.
Amily Fahd, 22, Palestinian
Khalid Mohammad, 22, Tanzanian
“If this isn’t your favourite emoji then what is your purpose in life? Life is too short to worry about the sad things; let it go and be happy. Using that emoji just lightens up my mood whenever I am sad or feeling down and it should be everyone’s favourite emoji as well!
Mohammad Awad, 28, Qatari
Laila Khaleel, 32, Palestinian
“I love the ‘blowing a kiss’ emoji and probably use it over 50 times a day. I use it to say ‘love you’, ‘here’s a kiss’, and it even replaces typing out ‘bye’. I usually use it with my sisters, mum and best friends. I truly feel that emojis help us express exactly what we are feeling — even more than words, which can be misunderstood at times. They have definitely become a part of the way I communicate online.”