Written by Anneka Harry

In The News

Emojinal abuse

The ‘face with tears of joy’ emoji has been named the Oxford Dictionaries ‘word’ of the year. Anneka Harry is all for throwing a confetti cannon into a positive text – but is this a tears of joy face too far?

selection of emojisEvery now and again, when I’m feeling nostalgic, I might drop a little smiley into an email with a semicolon wink and a closed bracket smile. I miss the good old days when typed text emoticons could say so much more. The first time I got an @ sign rose I remember it being just as exciting as if I had actually returned home to a red rose-filled lounge.

They used to really mean something – mainly because they took so long to type – and they were never misunderstood. Although my Nan did sometimes send those curly bracketed kisses that looked more like lips you wouldn’t want a Nan kiss from. You know the ones I mean.

Emojis are the throwaway, frequently insensitive, evil usurpers to which I have to admit I have fully succumbed. They may not have started out as the most racially diverse or expressive bunch, but those exclusive little faces have crept into my daily correspondence with a smug face emoji lopsided grin.

“I do love emojis, despite never finding a use for that weird wiggly boomerang one. I just don’t think we should get too comfortable with them.”

Initially the novelty factor of the emoji keyboard meant my words and thoughts were perfectly illustrated. I (boggly eyes) would LOVE (any of the twelve colourful love heart options) to come for a drink! (coffee, milk, beer, two beers, martini, cocktail, red wine) See you tonight! (Then perhaps a moon to reinforce the time of day and a couple of dancing girls for good measure.)

But now we all recognise these symbols, what do they add? Do they even represent how we actually feel? Friends and I chat daily, our messages littered with the laughy crying face yet the hilarity of the chit chat has never made me spring leaky 90-degree angle tears like Gary Lineker in the Walkers ad. Sometimes I receive a long string of this face with no accompanying words and I wonder if I am, in fact, the funniest person on the planet.

Do we need a big old batch of new emojis with way more actual emotions? I, for one, am guilty of splattering them nonchalantly when I can’t be bothered to think of words from the despairing vocabulary I am forcing into an early retirement home.

There’s no denying emojis are taking over. I do love them (despite never finding a use for that weird wiggly boomerang one). I just don’t think we should get too comfortable with them. Or one day we’ll wake up and the suspicious face emoji will be Mayor of London and there’ll be some sort of emoji diet plan which consists entirely of that bowl of green soup and the indistinguishable marshmallowy thing. If you disagree you can send me the angry face purple devil, the pile of poo or the shocked ghost. I will take no offence whatsoever.

And as for Internet slang and acronyms: don’t even get me started. LOL 😉


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Written by Anneka Harry

Anneka Harry does comedy and hustling for a living. She smells like thrift shops and ambition. Stalk her here http://www.vivienneclore.com/artiste/anneka-harry/ and @Annekaharry.