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The Hieroglyph of the Modern Age

Chances are if you have a smartphone then you have at least once in your life seen or sent an emoji to a friend or family member. I know this because even my technologically impaired father knows what they are and how to send them. Whether or not the audience appreciates the emoji is up for debate. If you are like my past three English/Communication professors, then you may not be the biggest fan. Some reasons why they argue against the emoji are they claim emojis are pointless, do not hold any real substance, and are confusing. While I will be the first to admit that they are sometimes hard to decipher, I also believe that like with any word, when used properly, they can enhance the meaning of any text. Emojis act as an added layer of emotion to a seemingly impersonal means of communication.

When analyzing the symbols, one must think about what the face or object says about the person sending the text. That is, think of the emoji face as that of the person sending the text and any objects as pieces of their story. While it is true that some emojis hold double meaning, the same can be said for words. Words are literal symbols that we all just decided to agree to stand for a particular feeling or object. Honestly, I think that is part of their charm. They literally mean nothing, yet have some significance when we use them. By putting sentences together and showing them to a foreign exchange student who is still a little unsure about the English language they may not grasp the concept without a few translations. However, if we take the universal understanding of basic emojis and put them in the same text, the student may be able to pick up on the general idea of the message. For instance, they can likely understand with ease if something said was funny or sad.

By combining the power of words and emojis, we get a wonderful composition of symbolic meaning that makes us think and feel more connected. For that reason, I find emojis are not pointless and in fact tell stories just as well as the Egyptian Hieroglyphs we grew up learning about in school.

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