Primarily, communicating with emoji is fast

A small symbol can quickly be typed and substitute for the need to type a word or a phrase. One study shows that the time it takes for a person to find and type an emoji was on average equivalent to the length of time it takes to type a five to seven character word (Pohl et al., 2017).

(most) Everybody loves emoji

Beyond the benefits of speed, emoji are a fun way to express emotional concepts and ideas between peers. We can observe this by looking into the recent origin and dramatic prevalence in the use of emoji. The humble emoji originated in the late 1990’s in Japan to allow a phone carrier to send small pictograms to other phones. It wasn’t until 2010, however, that the Unicode consortium standardized 722 emoji in version 6.0. When standardized, they merged emoji with several symbol fonts including Zapf Dingbats, Microsoft Wingdings, and Japanese TV symbols. At the time of this study, 40% of all Instagram messages contained emoji, and in 2015, the laughing face emoji 😂 was named Oxford Dictionaries’ Word of the Year. (Pohl et al., 2017).

Relatable and universal

Emoji’s rise to popularity showcases how a simple little image can help one person relate to another and share their emotions and is the underlying reason why emoji should be considered as a formal communication method for use in the corporate environment. As an added benefit, emoji have evolved during a time of global connectedness and may even provide a way to express emotion or meaning across different cultures when language is a barrier.

All of these reasons lead to increased engagement.


Pohl, H., Domin, C., & Rohs, M. (2017). Beyond Just Text: Semantic Emoji Similarity Modeling to Support Expressive Communication 👫📲😃. ACM Transactions on Computer-Human Interaction, 24(1), 1–42.

By Tina Schweiger, Product Designer for Mindful Appy
I’m currently practicing as a digital strategist and designer, and researching emotion and mindfulness as it relates to the workplace. I’m a candidate at Harvard Extension School for a Master’s Degree in Industrial Organizational Psychology.