Emojis may be hot, but they’re destroying the art of communication

By now, I’m sure you’re sick of hearing about my personal stance on emojis as a communication tool.

But, despite my personal feeling, the thundering success of emojis rages on.

Obviously, they’ve long been a tool for texting. But, in the last year they started showing up much more frequently on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram (just to name a few of the spots).

Heck, they’re even showing up in news releases, thanks to Chevy.

Chevy Emojis

And, I dare say, they’re completely socially acceptable–especially among younger generations.

But, they’re also destroying the art of communication.

Yes, I know communicating with emojis is trendy.

Yes, I know communicating with emojis is fun.

Yes, I know communicating with emojis is easier for the reader (visuals vs. text discussion).

But, it’s destroying the written word. Little by little. Emoji by emoji.

And that’s a big deal for an industry (PR) that’s completely built on the written word.

How is it destroying the art of communications? Consider the following:

Emojis = less practice writing.

Kids already have difficulty learning to write coherently, creatively and effectively in school. Now, these kids are communicating less and less with written expressions, and more and more with visual cues. Gotta believe that’s not helping.

More emojis = more fun = less writing.

It’s fun to use emojis. In texts. On social networks. In email communications with your professor (I bet it’s happening). It’s not fun (for most people) to write–and write well. So, as emojis proliferate, and more people use them, fewer people are using the written word. Not good.

Great writers = Great strategists.

Learning how to think visually is a great thing. I’m not disputing that. But, learning how to express your thoughts via the written word is a different skill. And, I would argue those who learn to write well are the same people who go on to become strategists, VPs and presidents. Learning how to communicate via the the written word is a pathway to strategy. In my experience, most of the people I see ascending to senior-level PR/communications jobs are those with strong to very strong background in writing–not design/visuals.

Your CEO definitely isn’t using emojis.

Written business communication isn’t going anywhere. When was the last time you saw an emoji in an executive communication? Yep, that’s what I thought. Using emojis may be fun and light-hearted, but it’s not how the top levels of business communicate. Not at all.

So year, are emojis a fun and light-hearted way to communicate to friends? Absolutely. But, I’m not sure they should a major presence in the PR and communications world–and that seems to me what is increasingly happening.

Does that concern you as much as it does me?


Thanks for installing the Bottom of every post plugin by Corey Salzano. Contact me if you need custom WordPress plugins or website design.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>


5 comments on “Emojis may be hot, but they’re destroying the art of communication

  1. I hate emojis, mostly because I can’t figure out what is being “said” most of the time. What I need is an emoji to English dictionary, sort of the way I use a Spanish to English dictionary.

  2. Glenn Hansen says:

    Arik, I put emojis in the same group as cliches and acronyms. Actually, they may be the low life form of the group. Sure, it can be fun to use an emoji in a text. But they add nothing valuable to communication, other than a little color. Like cliches and acronyms, they’re most often misunderstood. Also like their too-often used family members, they’re not going away.

  3. Autumn Sandlin says:

    You bring up some excellent points in your blog post. Emojis will never be capable of replacing the written word because, well, it’s the written word. However, I believe fretting over excessive emoji usage will not fix the problem. The example you provided of Chevy’s all emoji press release was definitely overkill, and a good example of where an overuse of emojis can make something completely unreadable. I do believe, though, that emojis have a place in Public Relations if the situation calls for them. I don’t think they should be used in press releases, or anything between a practitioner and his or her chief executive officer. They can be incredibly beneficial if they’re used properly on social media platforms that have a younger audience or are seeking to engage them. The written word and emojis can co-exist without one signaling the death of another. The focus on the written word should not stray, but emojis have their place in PR if used in the correct context, and the correct way.

  4. a good says:

    Winterfrost : Michelle Houts : 9780763665654