Parlez-Vous Emoji?

You don’t? Time to learn. Studies show that smart use of emojis increases both social media engagement and a sense of personal connection/trust.

Warning: There’s quite a bit of “never use emojis” advice in the blogosphere. Unless you’re writing an academic paper for phD’s, it’s just personal bias. A blogger’s opinion is not a reflection of how most people react to emojis in everyday writing.

OK, ready to take “Emoji 101?” It adds a powerful engagement-building skill to your social media toolbox. And hey, it’s more fun than learning French.

Let’s “parler emoji!”

A Little Background…


The emoticon is the emoji’s precursor. They are actual text, a combination of characters. For example…

Colon + Dash + Closing Parenthesis = 🙂 = smiley (happiness)

Online writers have used emoticons to add “emotion” to their words since text itself was first transmitted online. They help prevent misunderstandings and soften negative phrases (which often appear harsher than intended).


The “Unicode” font, in contrast, delivers small pictograms known as emojis


There’s no combination of text characters… you simply use your phone’s emoji keyboard to type a smiley as .

What About On Desktop/Laptop?

Yup, you can type them directly there, too. To open your emoji keyboard, go to the taskbar at the top or bottom of your screen. And then…

  • On a Mac, go to System Preferences > Keyboard and add a check to Show Keyboard & Character Viewers in menu bar (Yosemite or older) or Show Keyboard, Emoji, & Symbol Viewers in menu bar (El Capitan or newer).
  • In the menu bar, click on the keyboard viewer icon and select Show Character Viewer > Emoji (Yosemite) or Show Emoji & Symbols (El Capitan). That brings up your emoji keypad…


  • On Windows, right-click the taskbar and enable “Show touch keyboard button.” A keyboard icon appears in your taskbar. Click the icon and select the smiley-face icon to get this…

So What’s the Big Deal?

Emojis have the conventional uses of emoticons (while looking better). They extend the limited range of emoticon meanings tremendously (there are so many more of them). And there’s the potential for creative use that can add big-time impact to the written word.

That makes them hugely valuable for social media. More versatile and attractive than emoticons, they can shorten tweets, reinforce an emotion or just be cool. Whatever you’re writing, there’s always a terrific emoji opportunity waiting!

But what’s the point? Used in social media, they increase engagement and create personal connection/likeability with your audience. Three caveats…

  • Consider your audience. Emojis may not be appropriate if you target funeral directors or astrophysicists✨
  • Don’t overdo them! If it’s looking cluttered, you’ve got too many. Less is more.
  • How you use them will vary according to the medium (web pages/blog posts vs email vs social media).

Bottom Line Takeaway?

Don’t listen to the “too cool for school” bloggers. Emojis work (in moderation).

We’ll dig deeper into “emoji speak” in future articles.