Despite potential misunderstandings, more emoji use 'inevitable'

Unless you live in a cave, away from the internet and civilisation in general, emojis will be part of your life.  

Formerly solely the domain of teens and millennials, emojis are now sent willy nilly by everyone from friends, colleagues, parents and even, in some cases, grandparents. 

They are so popular that it seems news ones are constantly being released. 

Recently, to celebrate World Emoji Day - because, yes that exists - Apple released a plethora of new images to really shake things up.

One major update was the holding hands emoji, which will now be able to be used to represent couples and relationships in any combination of skin tones and gender, with 75 combination possible. 

Despite potential misunderstandings, more emoji use 'inevitable'
Photo credit: Apple

More disability themed emojis were also introduced, with a new guide dog, an ear with a hearing aid, wheelchairs, a prosthetic arm and a prosthetic leg now available. 

Previously existing emojis were also updated, with a new smiley face for yawning, a one-piece swimsuit and various food items and new animals added.

But with all the possibilities available, it's no wonder the emoji world is rife with potential misunderstanding.

Many signs may seem innocuous but not all signs mean the same thing to people. In Greece, thumbs-up means "go to hell", and in Italy, what we know as the sign of the horns can suggest your wife is cheating on you. 

Miriam Meyerhoff, a professor of linguistics at Victoria University, says if you are in doubt about using emojis,it's best to wait until someone sends one to you first.

"What we want is to have everybody know what they can expect at the other end, "says Dr Meyerhoff.

Gone too, she says, are the days when only the young would use them.

"It seems like it's probably going to be inevitable that people over the age of 55 will start using them because that's what the shared norms are that are emerging."

That doesn't mean that older people should only do it to join their kids.

"You should be comfortable with what you're doing. You shouldn't allow peer pressure to make you do things."

And Dr Meyerhoff's advice for people thinking of sending an eggplant emoji?

"I would say for those nearest and dearest to you, with who you share intimate moments with, you might want to hazard an eggplant but I really wouldn't do it to anybody else. And certainly not in the workplace."