The Oxford English Dictionary has named the tears of joy emoji as word of the year. But are these little pictures really worth a thousand words, Ian Vella asks.
A few years ago, the telephone was the tool of choice for long-distance communication. It got the message through loud and clear and managed to convey our emotions quite well – if someone sounded angry, chances were that they were actually angry.
Texting does not require as much socio-emotional context as verbal communication and therefore caught on quickly. However electronic and typed messages, such as e-mails or SMS, remain somewhat impersonal and do not portray the sender’s feelings in the communication itself. In fact texting makes it difficult at times to understand whether someone is being sarcastic, joking or expressing any emotion at all.