Posted by: Jack Henry | February 26, 2019

Editor’s Corner: Emojis

Recently, several people have brought up emojis as an Editor’s Corner topic. In the past, I’ve avoided them because they are pictures rather than words. Additionally, since this is a business, we try to project a certain amount of seriousness when communicating with the world outside. But we also like to have a little fun, and when you spend your day in email and instant messages and on the phone, sometimes it’s nice to see a smile while you’re reading. Emojis can add a little extra “oomph” to your conversation.

And here’s the other reason I’m talking about emoji’s today: the almost sacred Chicago Manual of Style discussed them in their monthly Q&A! That’s like getting permission from your parents to watch an R-rated movie when you aren’t 17 yet! Yes, excitement abounds!

According to Merriam-Webster, an emoji is “any of various small images, symbols, or icons used in text fields in electronic communication (as in text messages, e-mail, and social media) to express the emotional attitude of the writer, convey information succinctly, communicate a message playfully without using words, etc.”

The word is from the Japanese words for picture (e) + character (moji).

Now, before you start getting emoji crazy, here are some rules and good advice from Entrepreneur magazine’s website. These are the bare bones, but you can read the full article here.

  1. Keep the situation in mind. Before flooding your message with emojis, carefully consider the situation, the person who will receive it, and the tone of your business communications.
  2. Practice discretion. Regardless of the situation, emojis should never be used to totally replace actual words; they are only meant to add a bit of emotion to your message.
  3. Use only emojis you understand. When in doubt, leave them out.
  4. Don’t use emojis with a potential client. It’s not wise to use emojis if you are trying to establish a new relationship with a client or colleague. Use actual words instead. Again, keep it professional.
  5. Consider emojis like slang. Co-workers build a language of their own that includes industry jargon and casual slang, and using emojis is like using slang words. Emojis work best in casual conversations.

Okay, time for a look at the CMOS Q&A, which deals with using emojis and punctuation.

Q. Where does an emoji go in a sentence? Before or after the period? ✏️ Having a tough time deciding 🤔.

A. An emoji that applies to a sentence as a whole might logically follow the period or other terminal punctuation. Let’s coin a term and call this a sentence emoji. 😉 Then, by a similar logic, emoji applying to a word or a phrase could immediately follow that word or phrase, before any mark of punctuation 🔍, like that. Emoji standing in for words, like this picture of a 🐈—well, you get the idea. But if you’re texting? Most of this logic goes out the window (along with the punctuation). Love your emoji btw!

And here are two tips for those of you who may not be very familiar with emojis, like me:

  • To find out what different emojis mean, check out Emojipedia.
  • To see a list of emojis while you are in the text area of Microsoft® Outlook® or Word, click the Windows® key and the period. A menu appears with various emojis.

Have a great day! 🌞

Kara Church

Technical Editor, Advisory

Symitar Documentation Services

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