Workplace Etiquette

Study confirms using emojis in work emails means you will be automatically fired and with good cause

November 6, 2017
Apple emojis.
CHRIS J RATCLIFFE

Important update from the world of business sociology NO NO WAIT, IT’S AN INTERESTING ONE, DON’T CLICK AWAY YET: Research has definitively proven that the practice of using emojis in work emails makes you look bad, according to a recent study published in the Journal of Are You F**king Kidding Me With This?

Ha, just kidding, the journal is actually called Social Psychology and Personality Science (it’s the one with Gwen and Blake on the cover) and the headline is “The Dark Side of the Smiley,” which has to be the finest headline to ever grace a story in Social Psychology and Personality Science.

And “The Dark Side of the Smiley” confirms what every person older than 20 has told you since you had to fill out high-school future-career questionnaires: The adorable devices you use to convey joy are weird, creepy, winky, unsettling, useless and frightening when communicating with grown adults who are in charge of your health care. In short: Using emojis in work emails makes people look incompetent, which you knew already. If you didn’t, here, watch: Using emojis in work emails makes people look incompetent J ;)

The study says: “Our findings provide first-time evidence that, contrary to actual smiles, smileys do not increase perceptions of warmth and actually decrease perceptions of competence.” Wait, so if I’m understanding this right, you’re saying there’s a difference between the way humans convey feelings and friendship on the internet and in real life? DO GO ON.

The test worked like this: Participants read work-related emails that contained an identical message, but some of those emails contained emojis and some did not. The participants were then asked to reply to the mail. And the results showed that participants who replied to the Emoji People revealed less personal information than their counterparts, leading to this takeaway: Professional emails that were trying to be all familiar, friendly and winky ended up emitting a creepers vibe that made respondents keep more information to themselves.

Bravo

Interestingly, the study also moved back into what history textbooks will call “the real world,” asking participants to look at two groups of photos of people: one that was smiling and one that was blank. Not surprisingly, the smiling folks were considered friendlier, because that’s the general impression from all smiling people who aren’t presidents. So, to summarize: In the work setting, real smiles are good, text smiles are creepy. In the work setting, friendliness is a positive, text familiarity is weird. Short version: It’s best to stick with timeliness, grammar and professionalism. Thanks for reading. J ;) <3


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