Are Emojis Ever Applicable in Academic Writing?

impactio blog: Are Emojis Ever Applicable in Academic Writing?

Emojis are everywhere. Whether you’re texting on your phone or scrolling through social media, you will see an emoji. Perhaps you even use them yourself when posting a new Facebook status.

The most popular emoji is the laugh-cry one that indicates laughing until you’re crying. Officially dubbed the ‘Face With Tears Of Joy,” It is typically meant to show that you find something humorous In fact, it was named Word of The Year by the Oxford Dictionary in 2015.

We use and see emojis so often in our everyday life that the digital image can sneak into our work product. Should emojis be used in professional settings such as academic writing?

The Origins of Emojis

The smiling face emoji is one of the most used and recognizable emojis. The modern-day emoji can be traced back to the 1960s. American artist Harvey Ball was tasked with creating an uplifting logo for a group of insurance companies.

Ball quickly created a simple logo: A yellow circle with two dots representing eyes. But what caught everyone’s attention was the wide, curvy smile.

The visual representation went digital in the 1990s in Japan. Interface designer Shigetaka Kurita is considered the creator of early emojis. Apple was the first cell phone company in the U.S. to add an emoji keyboard to its operating system.

Contrary to popular belief, the word “emoji” is not derived from the word “emotion.” In Japanese, the word literally translates to “drawn language character.”

There are over 3000 emojis to use today. But should academic writing include them?

When Emojis Are Acceptable in Higher Ed

In texts and emails, emojis can be a great way to break the ice, or clarify the meaning of the message. Do emojis have a place in higher education? That depends on what you’re writing and to whom.

In general, emojis tend to add a light-heartedness, which isn’t always welcome in a professional setting. Studies show that the use of emojis undermines the original message. If you use an emoji in your professional communications, you may appear less qualified among your peers.

Adding an emoji or two might make your academic paper relate to the younger generation, but at what cost? Your professional standing could suffer, as well as the validity of your research.

That doesn’t mean those in the academic field can never use emojis. When sharing your work on social media platforms, emojis can engage your followers. But in a professional correspondence or research paper, it’s best to let the words stand alone and speak for themselves without emojis.

Journals may outright reject papers that have emojis due to concerns over professionalism.

The best time to use emojis in higher education is in private messages with your peers. They can also be used in classrooms to engage with students.

When You Should Never Use Emoticons

Emojis have a time and a place. The academia world may not be one of them. Of the 3000 available emojis, some do depict science, technology, and even reading. However, many emojis have double or triple meanings that can be hard for the reader to decipher.

It is easy to incorrectly use an emoji if you don’t fully understand all of its meanings. For example, that purple eggplant emoji is rarely used to discuss the fruit.

A smiley face may seem to be an innocent way to express positive feelings. But it can easily be misconstrued as passive-aggressive.

Additionally, some emojis can be offensive if used incorrectly. One constant debate is whether the emoji of two hands held together is a prayer emoji or a high-five emoji.

Want to Show Off Your Emoji Game? Talk to Your Impactio Network

Emojis may not have a place in your research papers, but the visual representation is acceptable on social media. Impactio is America’s premier networking platform for scholars and researchers. It’s also the perfect place to find the data analytics of your work.

Scholars can work on their emoji game while in communication with their network of peers. Social media is much more informal than an academic research paper. Join Impactio today to start connecting with others in your field.


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