Email isn’t dead — at least not yet.
While texting and the billion-dollar Slack app creep into email’s territory, the 44-year-old technology is still very much evolving.
And that evolution, according to a new Adobe study, is overrun with emoji.
When researchers surveyed more than 400 US employees over the age of 18, a full third of millennial employees said they believed using emoji was appropriate when communicating by email with a direct supervisor or senior executive.
The days of the curtly worded email are quickly coming to an end.
In their place: a new dynamic in which superiors and underlings use everyday language (and symbols) to exchange ideas, schedule meetings, criticise mistakes, and heap on praise.
The trend seems to come from email’s change in identity. It’s closer to texting than letter-writing.
And since younger people have grown accustomed to certain forms of expression on their phones — aka a smiling coil of poop — their work computers see more of the same.
It may be tempting to say this behaviour is ruining the quality of our conversations, but Harvard cognitive scientist and linguist Steven Pinker isn’t convinced.
As Pinker reminds us, the use of emoji in everyday conversation actually makes our speech more effective.
“What the smiley in particular does, mainly conveying irony or levity, is often crucially important in getting a message across, because irony is often undetected,” he told Tech Insider.
Maybe you were genuinely appreciative when you typed out “The five-layer dip was great. I can’t wait to try it again.” But the lack of transmitted emphasis on great or can’t wait may make you seem like an indifferent robot.
The same message enlivened with exclamation points and emoji — two flourishes straight out of the millennial email handbook — has no problem getting emotion across: “The five-layer dip was great!! I can’t wait to try it again :).”
Not all bosses necessarily want to be pals with their staff. But more and more manager love emoji as much as their employees.
Bring on the ????????????.
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