It doesn’t come as a surprise to hear emojis are making young people happier at their work. 

The word emoji means “picture letter” in Japanese and millennials and generation Z (those born from mid-1990s to 2000s) are using them more than ever. 

They send emojis to their family, their friends in Whatsapp chat groups and now in staff-student correspondence at universities and colleges. 

The emoji keyboard has undoubtedly become the norm in internet-based communication.  

The use of emojis has also become an accepted standard of communication in online news, social media and marketing – to such a great degree scholars have even conducted academic analysis on the subject. 

More than 20 years on from the creation of the first emoji by engineer Shigetaka Kurita, there are now more than 3,000 to choose from at the touch of a button on a range of devices.

While they may be perceived by some as a lazy or juvenile form of communication, emojis are being used on a daily basis as a new language to add colour, convey feelings, humanise messages and express intentions and identities. 

Emojis are nothing new or revolutionary, however. As The Herald aims to reach a new generation of younger readers, they are playing an important part in our digital strategy as a whole.

Encouraging evidence shows our audience is responding positively to emojis, with an increase in engagement and reactions on social media posts compared to the previous year.

It could be something as simple as the “talking head” emoji to indicate an opinion or comment piece, the angry face to convey negative emotion or an arrow pointing to an article link.

And it’s not just online publishers and news brands that are aboard the emoji bandwagon; even political parties have increased their use of emojis on Twitter posts as a way of engaging with voters.

Emojis will remain a significant part of the ongoing and ever-changing digital landscape for decades to come, whether that be in Whatsapp group chats, university emails or political party campaigns.

A picture is worth a thousand words after all.

 - Rebecca Parker is a digital journalist at The Herald.