Here’s deeply disturbing news for anyone reading these words and for the people who write them: Emojis are the fastest-growing “language” on the internet, with almost a third of global internet users classified as “emoji super-users,” according to Foresight Factory, a business that analyzes consumer trends. This number is predicted to double to nearly two-thirds in 2018. For people who still communicate in words, emojis are the small digital icons used to express emotions in electronic communications.
The use of these icons extends beyond millennials and across age groups and demographics. A Foresight Factory web post states that emojis aren’t just providing a means of emotional expression that resonates—humans respond to them in a similar way to human facial expressions, a 2014 study found—they also quantify those emotions in a manner that’s ideal for data analysis that helps marketers and businesses.
What does all this mean for the written word?