The Rise Of Emojis, Stickers and Gifs
There is a strong link between emoticon use and social power/Emoticons and power on social media. Emoticons and emoji have changed the way we communicate. This is a linguistic revolution that has taken the world by storm. The emoji phenomenon has become so powerful that according to statistics, 74 percent people in the U.S. regularly use stickers, emoticons or emojis in their online communication. In 2014, Swyft Media claimed that users of messaging apps send an average of 96 emojis or stickers per day. The Oxford English Dictionary named an emoji with tears of joy as the word of the year 2015. The use of emojis has become so prevalent that there is now a push to convey racial and cultural diversity through emojis. In fact, there is an ongoing effort to induce food diversity in emojis!
In spoken communication, if speakers are not allowed to use gestures or emotions, they become less fluent. In online communication, emojis are akin to the tone of voice on the telephone, or expressions and gestures in face-to-face communication.
In this space, Snapchat acquired Bitmoji to improve its engagement metrics. Similarly, we’ve seen FB integrate Masquerade. Twitter has begun monetizing its branded stickers. Emojis, stickers and GIFs. can be a source of major revenue streams; for instance, Line, a popular messaging app from Japan, sold $268 million worth of stickers in 2015.
Celebrities like Kim Kardashian, Hillary Clinton, Steph Curry, and major brands like GE, Burger King, Mentos, Ikea, Starbucks, Pepsi, Dominos and so on have embraced the emoji phenomenon wholeheartedly. Customer's emotional relationship with a brand has become a key driver of customer loyalty. In a world of increasing skepticism, defining a humanistic social media voice can help develop and retain authenticity for brands. Emojis can help create room for two-way conversations between brands and their fans. For celebrities and influencers seeking higher popularity, an analysis of more than 31 million tweets and half a million Facebook posts by Simo Tchokni of the University of Cambridge Computer Laboratory and her colleagues used various metrics, such as number of followers and Klout score, to conclude that there is a strong link between emoticons and social power.
Even erstwhile staid corporates have been using emojis not just in social media, but also in emails, despite an earlier apprehension of appearing unprofessional. In a world of collapsing hierarchies, emojis help corporates appear friendly and approachable. As HR and senior management seek to resonate with an increasingly younger workforce, their message needs to speak the language of the times.