When you add a smiley at the end of a text, you might state more than you realize. Emojis, faces formed from punctuation symbols, for example, :- ), and emoticons, picture images, for example, 😀, are now very common in our everyday communication. They can help the other person to understand a possibly unclear message, strengthen the feeling in what you’re stating, or convey your emotions quickly with a single character. Although not every person utilizes them – or translates them – in the same way.
So we started to find how the utilization of these images impacts the way others see us. Do different people utilize emojis for a specific reason, such as providing a window into their persona. If so, what psychological factors are related with these actions?
To do this, we asked a group of people to submit a survey about themselves and then allow us to study their textual communication in a staged conversation.
The survey covered peoples’ perspectives on their personalities, confidence, social anxiety and self-introduction concerns. They were also asked about the amount of emojis they used in their everyday conversations. We then recorded a 10-minute conversation of them with another unknown person via messenger.
Those individuals who considered themselves as pleasant (lovely, likable) will most likely use emojis on social media. We also learned that the individuals who cared less about how people saw them were more likely to use emojis.
Different people use emojis differently based on their personalities. People who are pleasant tend to use social and enthusiastic prompts such as smiling and being supportive. That is reflected in their conversations through the use of happy emojis.
This is more present on the social network sites like Facebook, where the audience is bigger and where the communication more complex. We can guess that people who are more pleasing tend to convey that part of their persona through emojis.
If you care less about how people see you, you may be more comfortable in illustrating all your emotions.
We’re more likely to use emojis in some conversations than others. Some of our participants considered emojis unsuitable for more professional contexts. Which explains why people tend to use less emoticons in emails than the text messages.
Anyway, our participants stated that emojis were a effective way of expressing their emotions. Also a better way to reduce ambiguity of text messages. This tells us that emojis may be especially important for people who find it difficult to express or understand messages using only text.
The kind of emojis people sent in their text didn’t always correspond to how people saw themselves. This indicates that while smiling emojis may make people look more likable and pleasing, that may not match up with their real life personalities.
This tells us that the way we use emojis appears to create in people people’s mind an impression of us and the fact that we should be careful of how we use them online.