Emoji: once a Japan-exclusive addition to text messaging, emoji have now become a universal method of communication that people from all generations have picked up on. These little pictures are now standard on smartphones, and they’ve even made their way onto desktops and laptops. Not only that, they’ve also become an easy way to shorthand a message without losing the original meaning (or in some cases, giving it meaning words alone couldn’t accomplish)!
So why don’t annual conferences and churches use them more often?
In the past, emoji have been considered to be unprofessional or childish, and there is now a definite etiquette for emoji use. Emoji on a resume? Probably not a good idea. Emoji in a serious situation? DEFINITELY not a good idea.
Social media posts, on the other hand, are a perfect place for using emoji. It’s a great way to shorten your post, give it meaning, and make it…well, fun! Here are a couple of examples that I’ve found on Twitter from annual conferences using emoji:
Here’s one from the Texas Conference, with a few emoji. This is a perfect example because not only does it shorten the message from 149 characters to 138 (which allows it to fit in a Tweet), it also communicates more in a shorter format. This is shown in the use of the camera emoji (📷) which is used to signify who actually took the picture, and therefore it’s not just saving space but also giving credit where credit is due!
This tweet comes from the Florida Conference, and it’s another great example of the “less is more” idea. Instead of using the words “Crossword puzzle” or “Puzzle question”, the Tweet uses the pencil emoji (✏️️) to communicate that instead, and that just makes the Tweet quicker to read.
In another example of how scarce emoji usage is, I wasn’t able to find any examples from other conferences. So to wrap up, here are my personal tips on using emoji in annual conference or church social media communication:
- Know when to use emoji. Serious events or communications don’t need emoji. Save it for the more light-hearted pieces, or as you feel it’s appropriate!
- Don’t use emoji all the time. Using emoji all of the time reduces the impact of it. Put another way, use emoji to put that extra touch on that Tweet that everyone will see!
- Use a wide variety of emoji. Using the same emoji all the time, like in the last point, reduces the impact of it. Use a website like Emojipedia to find out about all of the different emoji that exist, and refer to it often because new emoji are always being introduced!
- Emoji will look different across different devices. Companies that use emoji tend to design their own interpretations of the original Unicode standard, so emoji may look different across devices (see the Face with Rolling Eyes, and specifically the Apple and Google ones vs. the Samsung one). Again, Emojipedia is really useful in seeing what your emoji choice will look like across different devices!
As always, I share my thoughts and research in the hopes that this ends up being of some benefit to someone, and as always I appreciate any comments or questions. Please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org, or leave a comment below! I always love hearing your thoughts or what your conference is doing. Also, please feel free to share this with anyone who you think might benefit from it!
Until next time,