December 7, 2023
The Evolution of Emotes and Their Impact on Online Communication 1

The Evolution of Emotes and Their Impact on Online Communication

Emotes, or emojis as they are colloquially known, have come a long way since their inception in the late 1990s. With the rise of the Internet era and messaging apps, these little icons have become synonymous with online communication. Today, billions of emotes are sent every day across all platforms, from personal chats to business emails.

Emotes: A Brief History

The first known instance of an emote was created in 1982 by Scott Fahlman, a computer scientist at Carnegie Mellon University. The 2:-), which represented a sideways smiley face, was meant to indicate a joke in an online forum. This simple emoticon quickly became popular among computer users at the time and paved the way for the creation of a slew of other emoticons.

As the Internet became more sophisticated, the emoticons evolved into the emojis we know today. In 1999, Shigetaka Kurita, a designer at the Japanese telecom company NTT DoCoMo, created the first set of 176 emojis. These original emojis included now-iconic symbols such as the heart, smiley face, and sunflower.

Emotes in Modern Communication

With the rapid adoption of smartphones and messaging apps in recent years, emojis have become an even more integral part of communication. In fact, recent data suggests that emojis might even replace traditional text in the future. According to a report by Talkwalker, the use of emojis in posts about the coronavirus pandemic increased by 20% in 2020 alone.

Emotes are now an essential aspect of online interaction, allowing users to express emotions, add personality to their messages, and convey tone. In a survey of American adults by Harris Poll, nearly 7 in 10 respondents said they use emojis in their personal lives, and 63% said they use them at work.

The Impact of Emotes on Communication

While emotes have made communication more fun and expressive, they also have an impact on how we perceive messages online. In a study by the University of Cambridge, researchers found that the use of emotes affects the perceived personality of the sender. Participants in the study rated messages with positive emojis as more friendly and trustworthy than those without emojis. On the other hand, messages with negative emojis were rated as less sincere and less polite.

Emotes can also create a sense of connection and belonging among users. According to a study published in the journal Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, the use of emojis positively impacts social relations between online users. The study found that the use of emojis in online communication is associated with higher social support, self-disclosure, and camaraderie among users.

Using Emotes Effectively

As with any other aspect of communication, using emotes effectively depends on the context and audience. In personal chats and informal communication, emotes can help convey tone and personality. However, in professional settings, their use should be limited and appropriate. Before using an emote in a work email, consider the recipient and the context of the message.

Another aspect to consider is the cultural differences in the interpretation of emotes. What might be a positive symbol in one culture could be perceived negatively in another. To avoid misunderstandings, it’s essential to familiarize oneself with the meaning of different emotes in different cultures.

The Future of Emotes

As with any other aspect of technology, emotes will continue to evolve with time. Companies like Apple and Google are constantly adding new emojis to their libraries to reflect the diverse range of users and their needs. In 2020, a new batch of emojis was added, highlighting the need for greater diversity and inclusion. Among the new additions were gender-neutral versions of previously existing emojis and emojis that represented different disabilities.

As online communication becomes more entrenched in our daily lives, emotes and their use will become increasingly prevalent. However, as we use more emotes in our messages, we must also ensure that we still prioritize the essential conversational aspects, such as listening and empathy, to create meaningful and authentic communication.


Emotes have certainly come a long way since the creation of the 2:-). They have evolved into an essential aspect of online communication, conveying emotions and personality. However, their impact on communication goes beyond just expressing emotions. They also affect the perception of the sender and the quality of online interactions. As we continue to use emotes in our messages, it’s crucial to use them effectively, taking into account context and cultural differences. Keep learning about the subject with this external resource we’ve carefully chosen to complement your reading. Investigate this valuable guide, discover new insights and perspectives on the topic!

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