The very first emoticon appeared over 30 years ago, in 1982 – intended to be used as a “joke marker”.
But now, emoticons are used for more than that, they have evolved and changed and we use them just about every day!
Here are seven reasons, proved by science, that emoticons are good for you.
1. They make you more popular on social media
The use of emoticons on social media make you more popular, because they are usually associated with positive emotions.
A study at the University of Cambridge Computer Laboratory analysed more than 31 million tweets and half a million Facebook posts and proved that emoticons can be a social media status marker.
They determined the common traits of influential social media sharers and they came up with one common denominator – Emoticons!
“The emoticon features achieved high performance, suggesting that there is a strong link between emoticon use and social power.
“Powerful users tend to use emoticons often and high Klout is strongly associated with positive emoticons,” the study said.
2. We react to them like a real human face
Weird! Apparently when we look at an emoticon, the same parts of a our brains are activated as when we look at a real human face.
People pay more attention to a human face than anything else, so using an emoticon may be the next best thing to reaching out to your followers.
So if you want to reach out and connect with your followers – use an emoticon.
3. They’re more acceptable in the workplace
This is always a tough question – when and where is it appropriate to use emoticons?
A University of Missouri study showed that using emoticons in the workplace is A-OK.
The researchers tested people’s reactions when sent two types of emails containing emoticons – a flirtatious message and a work-related message.
In both types of message, when emoticons were used it made the recipient like the sender more and made them feel that the sender liked them more.
In the work email, the credibility of the sender wasn’t damaged even when they used four emoticons!
4. They soften the blow of a critique
If negative feedback from a superior comes with positive emoticons, the employees are more likely feel good about the message.
They are also more likely to implement the changes asked of them if they read the email positively :).
5. They make you appear friendlier and more competent
A study had participants chat online with “health experts” and “film experts”, some who used emoticons, and some who didn’t.
The “experts” who used emoticons came across friendlier and more competent in their knowledge.
6. Foster a happier workplace
Sometimes it can be hard know how someone intends an email to be read – without the non-verbal cues and facial expressions used in regular conversation.
And the negativity effect in email, where a recipient is likely to read an email as more negative than it’s intended, has been around for a long time.
In a 2013 study, this was tested with 153 professionals reading emails that either used emoticons or didn’t.
“I can’t make the meeting you scheduled because it conflicts with my staff meeting. Email me and let me know what I missed.”
“I can’t make the meeting you scheduled because it conflicts with my staff meeting. Email me and let me know what I missed. :)”
The email sounds less negative with the emoticon, right?
Apparently, this use of emoticons helps to “clue in” the recipient of the sender’s original intention.
7. Real life Happiness
A 2008 study found that emoticon users generally experienced a more positive enjoyment in life. 🙂
H/T Buffer Social