Millennials, we know you laid claim to the humble emoticon 🙂
But sorry… nobody even calls them that anymore 🙁
Today it’s all about yellow (and other various skin tone) emojis and Gen Zs have given them a whole new meaning that none of us saw coming.
Yup, adding a 😂 or 😊 to the end of a text message (or even a 😜 if you’re feeling a little feisty) is now officially cringe. In fact, emojis have become a universal language in their own right; a generational dialect that often completely replaces using actual words and sentences.
Zoomer Satviki Sanjay took a stab at explaining how in VICE.
“It is a Sunday night in 2020, and I am exhausted and dreading another week of work, when one of my friends sends me a video telling me she adores me,” said Sanjay.
“Obviously, I am touched, but I respond to her with no words—just a bunch of hearts, smiling faces, and kisses, knowing she gets what I mean.”
Sanjay reckons the limited number of emojis in existence in comparison to the breadth of verbal vocabulary has forced Gen Zs to get creative in an attempt to get their message across.
“Emojis, like words, evolve to have their meaning related to how people within a community use a word/emoji rather than anything inherent in the symbol itself,” the VICE article continues.
But what does that look like?
Sanjay offers some real-world examples.
“I see something that oddly disgusts and fascinates me and my fingers go 👁👄👁 before I can form a coherent thought; I see someone attractive on the internet, my brain immediately goes 😳 👉👈 ; I’ve been sending a 🤠 to my friends a lot all through the pandemic to show how I might seem happy from the outside but am actually dying on the inside; I do something that ends up backfiring and I manifest a 🤡 emoji in my brain; I get asked to do something I have absolutely no interest in and I go, “No ❤️”.
So how can you reach Gen Zs with emojis?
Try to learn the language, and get creative. The weirder, the more ironic, the more nuanced the better. Don’t freak out when you get a row of 💀💀💀💀💀 from your child, it actually means they’re “dying” of laughter or “dead” from what you wrote them.
High five 🙏 to that! Oops, that’s someone praying.
I mean, high five 🙌 to that!