Every workplace has someone that ends every email with one of these bad boys:
Maybe Jane in HR is trying to be quirky. Or Duncan in the mailroom is trying to “lighten the tone” of his very-serious emails. No matter who it is, they have a whole new reason to stop beyond “it’s kind of annoying”; they may be putting their jobs in danger
In an academic paper called ‘The Dark Side of a Smiley: Effects of Smiling Emoticons on Virtual First Impressions’, researchers from Israel and The Netherlands conducted experiments that replicated work communications. And they noticed a not-too-surprising trend: if you use that cute yellow smiling face, people are more likely to look down on you.
The report notes that, unlike real smiles that demonstrate a warm, welcoming persona, smiling emojis just make you look like an idiot.
Our findings provide first-time evidence that, contrary to actual smiles, smileys do not increase perceptions of warmth and actually decrease perceptions of competence. Perceptions of low competence in turn undermined information sharing.
In other words, frequent smiley emoji abuse may make you seem incompetent and cold to your colleagues, which brings forth heightened risk of isolation in the workplace. Which, in turn, means that if you weren’t invited to post-work drinks, or you’re wondering why your supervisor didn’t recommend you for that senior role that was up a month ago, it might be worth checking your sent mail history.
The paper goes on to posit greater questions on how virtual communications are changing the way we perceive social cues, including the very ‘First Year Philosophy Student’ line, “A smiley is not a smile.”
Simply, if someone you know is a serious smiley emoji offender, send them this with a friendly reminder that they may well be putting their job at risk.