In the era of COVID-19, face-to-face communication is a rarity. As people around the world are distancing themselves from one another to protect ourselves from the pandemic, we’ve found ourselves leaning on technology—from group chats to video calls—to have conversations. While we’ve gotten so used to sending quick messages, we fail to realize how much of our meaning and intent may be falling by the wayside as we exchange words.
Prof. Albert Mehrabian, a pioneer of the understanding of communications since the 1960s, however, established the importance of non-verbal cues in communicating with each other. His research emphasized that in communicating one’s feelings and attitudes, only 7% of a message comes from the words that are spoken, while the 38% is in the tone and manner of speaking and 55% in facial expression or body language, which telegraphs emotions more precisely than words may be able to.
Although the precision and nuance of facial expressions have been lost through digital communications, emojis as well as other digital graphics like stickers and GIFs, have helped a lot in bridging this gap. Emojis and the like have given us a full emotional palette with which to convey our tone of voice in our online conversations—especially in these times of physical distancing.
To prove this even further, according to the 2017 study “The Importance of Understanding Emoji” by Shatha Ali A Hakami at the University of Birmingham, it was found that the same sections of the brain are activated when an individual sees an emoji as when seeing real human facial expressions, helping people empathize with each other.
Here are more reasons why using emojis can improve the way you communicate:
Avoid ambiguous messages. Messages that contain pure text can easily be misunderstood or taken out of context. How do you know if “Okay!” was an upbeat show of enthusiasm, or a dejected and bored reply? Emojis can help elucidate and emphasize the meaning of text messages through a variety of characters that effectively express opinions and feelings, with a little bit of your own personality. By strengthening the context of your message, a small smiley face or a heart can leave no room for misunderstanding and miscues.
Improve interactions with strangers. Technology allows us to get in touch with people we don’t know very well, from a home baker selling ube cheese pandesal online or a fellow BTS fan who wants to barter fan paraphernalia with you. And when you don’t know someone’s nuances in their speech, emojis can help make the interaction more pleasant, especially now that community commerce is on the rise. This comes in handy for anyone—for a seller who wants to be remembered for their good customer service, or a repeat buyer asking for a small discount for their next purchase.
Ease your way into a group discussion. Sometimes, it can be intimidating to communicate when you’re in a big group—even more so when it’s an online group! Sending emojis can help ease your way in by letting you show your support and participate in conversations as you’re getting to know the community. Now, even in your Viber Communities, there’s a way to use emojis to express yourself to a big group of people. Rakuten Viber is incorporating a new Message Reactions feature in communities.
Users are now able to accurately react to every post in a Community, choosing from a simple like, laughter, shock, sadness, or anger. In order to react to a message, just long-tap the heart icon next to any message and pick an emoji. You can react to messages, media, and other content shared in a Community. To see how people have reacted to your message, long-tap the message and choose “Info” to see the list of reactions.
Connect—obviously or secretly—with peers. Emojis can take on different meanings from what their literal graphics portray, especially among certain cultures and demographics. When someone uses a fire emoji, for example, it usually doesn’t mean that something is literally burning, but that someone is or looks hot. While that’s something a Boomer might not get, it’s definitely a compliment to Millennials and Gen Z-ers! There are so many cultural ideas and expressions hidden in emojis, as well as stickers and GIFs, so sending them can show you are in the know. Viber has a wealth of these embedded into their Chats so you can easily search and send them out, making conversations fun and funnier.
As one of the leading messaging apps in the world, Viber has always been committed to help their users deepen their relationships by encouraging authentic conversations through its wide range of communication features—particularly now when physical interactions are impossible. By allowing its over a billion of users to react with emojis, stickers, GIFs, and now, Message Reactions in a Community, Viber empowers them to accurately convey their emotions and reactions and inject their personality into their online conversations.
With the atmosphere of Viber Chats and Communities beginning to look more and more like a dynamic conversation, Viber continues to give users better ways to stay in touch amid the pandemic.