Disruptions: Texting Your Feelings, Symbol by Symbol

Being a word-oriented thinker, I don’t have much interest in emoji icons. I dislike it when an autocorrect turns a traditional sideways smiley into an icon. My daughter, who at age 11 is too young for a Facebook account, sometimes uses my Facebook account to chat with her slightly-older teen friends, which means that when I am using Facebook on another device, chat windows pop up and fill themselves with streams of emoji. I figured I’d better look into this phenomenon.


The woman Michael was courting would type sweet nothings to him using emoji icons — a lady dancing, high heels or a martini with an olive — and this is where things went awry. Michael would respond with the “thumbs up” emoji, a hand that looks as if it belongs to an inflated cartoon character. When she would text “I’m excited to see you,” followed by a pink heart, Michael would respond with a thumbs up.

The woman confided to me and a friend that she believed that based on his use of emoji, Michael was clearly not interested in her and just wanted to be friends. “It’s like he’s saying ‘Hey, dude’ or ‘Sure, bro’ when he sends me that emoji,” she told me. “It’s not cute.”

That’s when I had to intervene. —NYTimes.com.