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Emojis: Thumbs up or down?

Everyone has been there. That awkward moment when friends or relatives post about a loss or challenging situation and Facebook users are forced to give the heartbreaking post a virtual thumbs up.

This week’s trend is two-fold. The first trend takes a look at the conversation surrounding the “thumbs down” social network button while the second is about the growing fascination and use of emojis.

Last month’s announcement by Mark Zuckerberg, Chief Executive of Facebook, the world learned the most popular social network would soon unveil a “thumbs down” button to act as a companion to the traditional “like” option.

Facebookers have been requesting a “dislike” button for years and Facebook declared it recognizes “not all moments in life are good moments.” However, internally, there was fear about whether the button would propel “online negativity” and could it outweigh it’s intended use of “expressing empathy?”

Fast forward to approximately six weeks after the button launched, the head of Facebook’s news team, Adam Mosseri, gave a quote to Bloomberg stating his team decided the ability to “dislike” posts wouldn’t be in the spirit of the product they are trying to build after all. So instead, the social network would begin delivering a solution for the dislike button which is the unveiling of six new emojis!

Yes, you read that right. Facebooker’s can now express additional feelings which will appear on any post in the news feed with the insanely popular emoji symbols.  And where I am going with this trend is the mainstream level in which the use of emoji’s for one’s entire body of communication is being adopted.

I can’t tell you how often I receive posts, private messages or a text that doesn’t contain a single character, letter or word but rather a series of emojis that require me to spend time interpreting the underlying tone of the message. These are not communications from teens but rather professional adults who prefer communicating via a series of several emojis versus words.

My apologies if you feel I am using this Trend Whisperer as a rant opportunity, but the truth of the matter is I sense this newfound emoji trend will go viral. And it is my belief this type of abbreviated communication not only creates a greater chance of misinterpretation, (god forbid if I was to misread the emojis accurate feelings), but their usage rate is beginning to shorten communications in general.

Rewinding, I recall the elimination of cursive writing which eventually lead to the almost nonexistent art of handwritten notes or what about the decrease of using phones for conversation? Most recently, some corporations are removing landlines and even eliminating electronic sign-offs on email correspondence. So this growth pattern of abbreviated and symbolized communication shouldn’t come as a surprise but it does have trend experts on high alert.

I will leave my followers with a confirmation that the new Facebook emoji series was released as a test and is occurring in Spain and Ireland. 

What are your thoughts on both social network trends? Will the dislike button spearhead negativity on Facebook, and, could that hinder your online reputation or even ratings? Have you personally experienced an increase of emoji use? If so, do you feel they enhance or hinder your time management and overall communications?

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