, June 25, 2024

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"'K' lang? 😡 Galit Yata! 😠" Or Why You Should Write with Emojis and Emoticons 😊📝👍


  •   3 min reads
"'K' lang? 😡 Galit Yata! 😠" Or Why You Should Write with Emojis and Emoticons 😊📝👍
Photo by chaitanya pillala on Unsplash
by Vincent R. Pozon

Communications is the trade that puts food on my table. In the past, I recoiled at the practice of using emoticons even when restricted by the 160-character limit on SMS. I saw it as childish, a lazy man's way of expressing; I believed that we should always try harder to form more coherent sentences.

Today, I think the rejection of emoticons is more about professional pride and a foolish reaction. There's science to support their use: When we write, our voices are bereft of intonation patterns, and our messages can be misinterpreted, read with malice and meanings that were never intended.

I know a man who lost his job and empire because of a terse note he made in an email. It was misread by the recipient, who was his chairman.

Words alone, on a page, are often read sober, leaning towards being too serious. I believe this is especially true when reading in a language not born into, making it a cultural problem. While it is possible to communicate effectively without emoticons, it requires more effort and attention to detail to convey tone and nuance in written language. It demands more time, which we frequently lack when we try to dash out a quick reply.

"Facial expressions constitute a rich source of non-verbal cues in face-to-face communication. Research has shown that emoticons constitute a valuable resource for language comprehension by providing expressivity to text messages." -  An Integrated Review of Emoticons in Computer-Mediated Communication by Nerea Aldunate and Roberto González-Ibáñez.

"We propose that people use emojis to capitalize on evolved social psychological features of human communication... we argue that emoji use imbues texting with aspects of expression, emotional valence, which in turn can promote the development of intimate relationships." - Worth a thousand interpersonal words: Emoji as affective signals for relationship-oriented digital communication, Amanda N. Gesselman, Vivian P. Ta, Justin R. Garcia.

Stanley Behrman said, "Texting is a brilliant way to miscommunicate how you feel and misinterpret what other people mean."

Today, I use everything available -- emojis, emoticons, stickers, and gifs -- to deliver my thoughts and make myself, my case, and my story clearer. I am more conscious now, as I have a tendency to be terse. So I write longer and work harder at explaining myself, building in the nuances I want the other party to hear. I italicize, capitalize, underline, and make important words bold.

As a pastor, Ed Lapiz, puts it, "economy with words causes all the misunderstanding."


Vincent R. Pozon

After a year of college, Koyang entered advertising, and there he stayed for half a century, in various agencies, multinational and local. He is known for aberrant strategic successes (e.g., Clusivol’s ‘Bawal Magkasakit’, Promil’s ‘The Gifted Child’, RiteMED’s ‘May RiteMED ba nito?, VP Binay's "Ganito Kami sa Makati”, JV Ejercito's "The Good One"). He is chairman of Estima, an ad agency dedicated to helping local industrialists, causes and candidates. He is co-founder and counselor for advertising, public relations, and crisis management of Caucus, Inc., a multi-discipline consultancy firm. He can be reached through vpozon@me.com.


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