Social Media

That Emoji can now say it with word and gesture

Chitra Narayanan New Delhi | Updated on July 17, 2021

Facebook, Microsoft do big emoji updates, former adds sound, latter animates them

Next time you chat with your friend on Facebook Messenger, you might just hear a burst of evil laughter accompanied by a maniacally laughing emoticon, or hear a clapping sound, along with the applause emoji. On the occasion of the World Emoji day on July 17, the social media giant has innovatively introduced ‘soundmoji’ — emoticons with audio. There is a whole library of sound effect options that users can choose from, including popular song clips.

And if you think that emojis are casual communication tools, then think again, as workspace software leader Microsoft is on a big emoji update mode as well, animating its library. It is refreshing the 1,800-plus emojis on Microsoft 365 to support the new hybrid way of working.

As Claire Anderson, Art Dirctor & Emojiologist at Microsoft Design, explains in a blogspot, “As the world moves toward hybrid work scenarios that blend in-person with remote, expressive forms of digital communication are more important than ever.”

Microsoft is not only going 3D but also unveiling five brand-new emojis that Anderson says “signal our fresh perspective on work, expression, and the spaces in between”.

In a burst of nostalgia, the boring paperclip emoji — Clippy — that existed across the Microsoft suite of products, gets a whole new lovable personality, with Groucho eyebrows et al, and promises to be the show stealer.

Anderson also takes on the big question of whether emojis are appropriate for work communications. “Play encourages innovation, and emoji are playful communicators,” she says.

Indeed, Adobe’s 2021 Global Emoji Trend report finds, after surveying 7,000 people in the US, the UK, Germany, France, Japan, Australia and South Korea, that use of emoji at work can help in talent retention, collaboration and communication.

Prathap Suthan, Managing Partner and Chief Creative Officer at Bang In the Middle, says “Emojis condense a lot of information, emotion, and meaning. Plus, they save a lot of time, are globally understood, and cut across languages and cultures.” Calling Emojis the new photographs, he says, “They add a visual and graphic layer of delight to news.”

“Delight” with Facebook’s soundmoji, Rajeev Raja, founder of audio branding agency BrandMusiq, says sound adds a whole new dimension to emojis making them much more powerful and impactful. “I think the time had come for soundmojis — audio has become so integral to creating experiences,” he says.

Published on July 16, 2021

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