Yes, You CAN Use Emoji in Enterprise Collaboration—Here’s How

|   Mar 7, 2016

Nearly 900 are supported across most platforms, and in 2015, they were the Oxford Dictionaries Word of the Year. Emoji have become a new language for online and mobile communication.

But in the corporate landscape, many employees are embarrassed to use them in enterprise collaboration, unsure of how and when to use them or even discouraged to use them altogether by management. Many people still feel emoji are just too playful, unconventional, inappropriate, awkward and distracting to have a place at work.

Here’s why your company culture needs to change that.

Why You Need More Smiles and Winks at Work

using emoji at workIt’s a commonly known fact that the majority of communication is nonverbal (some studies claim tone and body language communicate as much as 93 percent of your message). You convey meaning not just by what you say but also by how you say it.

Emoji fill the void of nonverbal context in text-only communication like email, text messaging, chat and social media. In fact, humans have actually developed the same facial recognition response to emoji (emoticons, in particular) as real faces. That emotional context makes it easier to understand what you’re trying to say, and it makes you more memorable.

Even in professional settings, people will have an emotional reaction to what you say online whether you want them to or not. They may feel indifferent when you hoped they’d feel excited, confused when you thought you were clear, offended when you thought you were joking or angry even if you aimed to be neutral.

So what if you could control your message, or at least decrease your chances for miscommunication? That’s really the purpose of using emoji in enterprise collaboration.

Plus, emoji convey all of that rich context in just one or two symbols. It’s a more efficient way of getting your point across in the hundreds of daily messages you reply to or create.

3 Super Tips for Getting Emoji-onal at Work

  1. Emoji Cheat SheetBookmark the Emoji Cheat Sheet. This website lists the emoji supported just about everywhere, including enterprise collaboration platforms like Socialcast. Just copy and paste the markdown (“:smile:”), and the platform you’re using will convert it into an image. You can also find emoji as you create an update or reply to chats within Socialcast just by typing a colon (:).
  2. Get comfortable using three emoji. Picking from hundreds of emoji just for a quick reply may seem overwhelming. So play around with just three to start. Try common ones like “smile” to express gratitude, “disappointed” to express compassion and “laughing” to express joy or excitement. Besides, you’ll probably never ever need to know “alien” or “speedboat” for work communication.
  3. Know your audience. As The Muse concluded in their debate on using emoji at work, it’s important to understand the communication preferences of your boss, coworkers and teams. And remember that different audiences may interpret emoji differently. When in doubt, check Emojipedia first for a generally accepted definition.

Yes, You CAN Have Too Many Emoji

Is there such thing as too many emoticons? Yes.

The point of taking enterprise collaboration online is to move real-life conversations to a space where teams can include remote coworkers and external collaborators, instantly share files alongside messages and centralize information and experts. But enterprise collaboration doesn’t work online if doesn’t reflect the way people naturally work together and communicate offline—which isn’t through words or emoji-ons alone.

By sprinkling emoji into enterprise collaboration tools like Socialcast, users get the best of both worlds: access to information across the company and that human element that makes work richer and more enjoyable.

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What is Socialcast?

Socialcast by VMware (NYSE: VMW) is a social network for business uniting people, information, and applications with its real-time enterprise activity stream engine. Behind the firewall or in the cloud, Socialcast enables instant collaboration in a secure environment. Socialcast is headquartered in San Francisco, California.