A Very, Very Expensive Emoji

The ubiquitous emoji has become part of the way we express ourselves to one another – adding a little feeling to otherwise plain text. Now those expressions have found their way into corporations and legal battles. This article from The Atlantic gives a great overview. Here’s a clip. Enjoy.

Once seen as a way to flirt over text or to express on social media the ineffable feeling of 🫠, emoji have worked their way down the “adoption curve,” Eric Goldman, a law professor at Santa Clara University who has studied emoji, told me. Much like the Millennials raised on the internet who now hold positions of power in corporations, the emoji has fully grown up.

That emoji are omnipresent in the professional world was inevitable, Goldman said, “because that’s how we are talking to each other in the rest of our lives.” In a 2022 survey from Adobe, 78 percent of Gen Z and Millennial respondents said that they used emoji in professional settings, as did more than half of Boomer respondents. Nick Bloom, an economist at Stanford who studies the workplace, told me that frequent emoji usage can be charted as part of a broader move in recent decades toward more casual tones in business. That shift has been abetted by workplace software such as Slack, with its chatty norms and many emoji options. (Emoji, like other characters on your keyboard, are standardized by the Unicode Consortium, though the term also is sometimes used more liberally to refer to picture icons specific to whatever platform you’re using.)

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