Feedback Class Activity: Emoji Ethics

In my class Information Systems and Digital Transformation, Lecture 5, Part 2, class activity was about an exciting subject: Emoji Ethics.  

One of the tasks of the activity was to think about how we communicate online ….. 

  • Do we use emojis? 
  • Do we use emoticons or glyphs? 
  • Are there any unethical implications of using emojis?  
  • Is there any censorship of using emojis? 

Again being from the Baby Boomer’s generation, I have never really thought too much about emojis. I do remember starting to use some glyphs when we wrote e-mails between colleagues. Afterwards, we began using emoticons during Skype calls, and now there are more than 2800 emojis as of June 2018. 

Listening to the audio clip from the BBC, Word of Mouth with Michael Rosen, it made me think about why do we use emojis?  

I use very few of them, mostly to express Love, hugs, and kisses, and on occasions to congratulate a friend or family member on their anniversary or birthday with champagne and confetti.

For me, the primary purpose for emojis is to use them as punctuation, to express some emotion in the message. 

I do realize now that these very innocent looking pictures can also cause grief and pain if not use in the correct format, or if they get abused. I can see how my children and their friends can make someone very unhappy or sad just by putting a barfing face or thumbs down to someone’s picture or blog. 

It is incredible the amount of emojis that have been released. There is even an emojipedia to search the right one or search for the meaning of the one you received. I have in occasion been careful not to press or select the wrong emoji by mistake, hoping not to put sad face instead of face with tears of joy. 

I have also noticed that it is still not all standardized and sometimes I receive messages with a lot of ??? instead. I had always thought if there were being censored. Always made me wonder If someone was trying to send me something offensive instead. I just assumed that they were only characters not recognized by the application. 

But from the clip, I also understand that some applications ban or censor certain emojis. Do they ban a real picture for an example of a gun as well or only the emoji? Who decides what to ban or not to ban? Who is playing the judge for all different cultures and societies? What the Western world might find very reasonable, it might be very offensive in other cultures. 

In conclusion, I do find there are some ethical implications when using emojis. Like everything we do, we should always act with morals standards and empathy towards everyone. It is becoming so popular and so extensive that it is becoming like another language and the popular method of communication. 

❤️ 😊 👍 💪

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