When Emojis speak louder than words

Posted by Olivia

The ease and convenience of selecting an emoji is a colourful way of telling my recipient exactly how you feel, but how did emojis get so successful? Why do we love them so much? And what were the stand out moments where emojis spoke louder than words?

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We love Emojis

Vastly evolved from the days of ":)" which had parents across the world thinking their children were repeatedly signing texts with colon brackets, now emoji has been marked as the UK’s fastest growing language in the UK. It’s not just the use of one emoji, oh no, a succession of emojis is needed to tell the story.

Emojis feature within everyday conversations. Marketers, brands and celebrities, whatever the race, whoever the person there is an emoji that represents every demographic. Custom celebrity emojis, like Kim Kardiashian’s ‘K-mojis’ (cringe) being one example of this.

Emojis Speak Louder Than Words Kmoji Kim Kardashian Gibe Digital 2016

Psychologists claim that we respond to emojis as if we were seeing a real life human face.

When communicated with a message, emojis act as a full stop to a message or in replacement of a few kisses. Emojis give text a bit of a face lift (sorry, that was terrible) which means that otherwise would-be ambiguous messages can now be confirmed with a simple smiley face.

As the emoji library grows, it’s pretty spectacular to know that emojis are used just as much as the hash symbol, if not at the same time as a popular hashtag. After the Brussels bombings, the hashtag #JeSuisBruxelles was trending for days alongside #LoveIsLove with most users expressing sadness with the sad face or broken heart emoji and resilience with the multi-coloured heart. 

Emojis Speak Louder Than Words Jesuisbruxelles Gibe Digital 2016

Whilst these signs of solidarity speak far greater than words, using a pre-set image collection to express heartfelt sympathies feels like a bit of an injustice. Since the Charlie Hebdo attacks, the response to French terror attacks has largely been visualised with hand drawn artworks expressing sincere and raw emotions.

Emojis Speak Louder Than Words Nice France Gibe Digital 2016

Whether it's an emoji, icon or image, in time of crisis, one image can say a million words to hundreds of thousands of people. 

Through emojis, more accurate data can be provided to Twitter, Facebook and Instagram detailing not only emotions but reactions, this includes animosity towards political candidates or approval of sportstars winning an Olympic medal.

New emoji responses on Facebook are said to improve our collective empathy as we are both exposed to different milestone life events which we feel we can openly comment on by emoji. 

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When Emojis have spoken louder than words

There have been some pretty epic moments in social media history where emojis have spoken louder than words.

Michael Jordan's G.O.A.T

You may or may not have heard about the Twitter battle where the highly sought after NBA star, DeAndre Jordan was being courted by several major NBA teams. A number of NBA stars took to Twitter to communicate via emoji how they would get to DeAndre’s home to convince him to sign with their team.

Emojis Speak Louder Than Words Michael Jordan Goat Tweet Gibe Digital 2016

There were a number of big names who participated within this Emoji-off until Michael Jordan’s social team chimed in with the winning tweet. Jordan is often hailed as the Greatest Of All Time so his team responded with the goat emoji, followed by six trophies for every championship that Jordan has won. The tweets resulted in more than 57k retweets and 40k favourites, just through the power of two little icons.

Emojis Speak Louder Than Words Michael Jordan Gibe Digital 2016

If not to win in Twitter battles, emoji trails are used to tell stories when words won’t do it justice.

Andy Murray's Wedding tweet

For a man of few words, Andy Murrary’s tweet on the morning of his wedding day summed it all up for him. Murray took to emojis of brides and rings to express his happiness. I can just picture him sat at the bar sipping on a whisky trying to find all the emojis.

Emojis Speak Louder Than Words Andy Murray Wedding Tweet Gibe Digital 2016

Order a pizza wth a Pizza emoji

Perhaps one of the coolest uses of emojis was Domino’s Pizza who allowed their customers to connect up their Twitter account and mobile number so a pizza could be ordered at the drop of a tweet or text with the pizza emoji in it.

Emojis Speak Louder Than Words Dominos Pizza Emoji Gibe Digital 2016

In this context, an emoji triggers an action which is novel but unlikely to evolve too much with consumers who still value choice.

So, why do we ❤️ Emojis?

Once haha, then LOL, then :) now 😄. Emojis have evolved to become a universal language that everyone understands. The emoji library has not only expanded to represent faces from different walks of life but even the faces we know through pop culture.

We respond to these little icons like they're real life human faces, in turn, closing the gap created by a sometimes troll-ridden world of the internet. We respond to crisis with emojis, and if emojis don't suffice we still use images over words to communicate our sadness, collectively.

On happier notes, emoji trails like Andy Murray's tell a cute little emoji story where words may actually come across quite cheesy. Perhaps the right time and right place slams a Twitter battle and results in 57k retweets which is huge for any PR company. Commercial-savvy companies tapped into emojis, by giving the pizza emoji the power to order a Domino's pizza.  

We ❤️ emojis because they have the power to reduce ambiguity of a sentence, they are the full stops, the goodnight kiss, the suggestive wink when words just don't cut it. 

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About the author



Olivia is the Content Marketing Manager for Gibe Digital. Olivia is a blogger with a love of all things digital, from super cool tech startups to flawless user experience. Olivia is the voice behind the social media accounts so do say hi when you get a chance. In her spare time, Olivia can usually be found cycling out of Bristol for a mini adventure.