Why Are Emojis So Damn Popular?

Someone once said to me “an emoji knows how to say everything I can’t”. Really? At the time I though the statement to be a little dumb, but I’m starting to see the light. Emojis have been around a long time, but it’s only in recent years that they have become a real staple in digital communications. It seems like every other week I see a new alert notifying me that there another few dozen emojis coming out.


The love of Emojis really varies drastically from one person to the next, however these little digital images only seem to be getting more popular. Why is that??? I mean they really have exploded in popularity and become a bit of a cornerstone for 21st century communications. So much so that they have even earned themselves a dedicated day of significance, #WorldEmojiDay. What is it about those little digital images that have made them essential to communication in today’s world?

Emojipedia founder Jeremy Burge says “Emoji are a great way to add personality to a text-based conversation.” This is a bit of a funny way to phrase it, but I see what he’s angling at. For the average user, this adds a little flare to their communications be it SMS texting, Instagram, Facebook, etc. You don’t need to be a wordsmith when you have emojis.

An article by Meera Senthilingam of CNN talks about the benefits psychologists see in studying the society’s use of emojis. Specifically, their ability to give us the same satisfaction in our communications digitally as we would have in person. So on top of being a nice aesthetic compliment, there is psychological support to say that in digital communications, emojis are a better and sometimes clearer means of expressing emotion rather than standalone text.

Succinct communications is also becoming more of a standard in digital communications and emojis MO are to be quick and concise. We see it in many social networks. Twitter is limited to 150 characters, Instagram only allows so many characters before having to click “more” and there are numerous other restrictions. Emojis serve as a means to concisely and effectively communicate feelings, thoughts and emotions with a symbol versus numerous characters so their use is practical too.

With so many reasons why Emojis are awesome, it begs the question how far is this fad going to go? Are Emojis the new shorthand?


Twitter – Ever wonder why you like Emojis so much? Learn why: http://bit.ly/19hTUNx

Facebook – Emojis are so dam popular! Why is that? Learn why Emojis are the new cornerstone of modern digital communications.




The Fight Against Fake News

Social media is a great means of conveying news to the masses, but how much of that news is real?

Generally speaking, most news outlets have a social media presence and some of the biggest stories across the globe unfold on Facebook and Twitter as quickly as they do on more traditional news mediums like radio or television. It’s truly impressive that in a matter of moments, the whole world can be looped in on breaking news.

Here’s the problem. Anyone can start the narrative. There are MANY fake news stories that have unfolded online and started from less than reputable sources. Thanks to a constant flow of information on social media, there are many people whose attention spans for social media are fairly short and as a result we as a society have become less skeptical of stories that seem to have merit. Those stories can take a root in a matter of minutes. A share here, a retweet there and all of a sudden a story is on fire and once they catch, they spread like wildfire.

So, how do we stop it? How do we fight fake news?

Luckily, there are people out there already fighting the good fight. Companies like Correctiv have been contracted by Facebook to research potentially fake news stories. Once confirmed to be fake, the stories are reported to Facebook and users are alerted that the story has been disputed by a fact-checker.

Facebook has also taken matters into their own hands from a governance perspective by banning certain sites from advertising if content on their site is believed to be fake, illegal or misleading.

It may be possible for networks to root out all fake news, but it’s pretty unlikely it will totally disappear. The average user needs to remain vigilant in their pursuit for news and remember that if you’re going to rely on your news feed to stay up-to-date on what’s going on in the world, make sure the source is reputable before you go ahead and share it.


Twitter  Is the news you’re reading on your news feed real? Check out The Fight Against Fake News.

facebook   What’s the deal with fake news? How do you tell the difference between a real story on Facebook and a fake one? Check out The Fight Against Fake News to learn more.





Social Media – The Ultimate Online Popularity Contest

How do you gauge someone’s popularity these days? Depending on how old you are the answer here varies drastically, but it’s almost universally accepted that if you are on social media your popularity is at least somewhat gauged by your followers and the number of likes you get on your posts.

On some level we all buy into this. No one likes taking that perfect picture, coming up with an amazing tagline and then receiving no one recognition for it, but how far will the social media pageant take us in the coming years?

For anyone like me who LOVES Netflix, there is a theory that one of their shows offers. The Netflix series Black Mirror touches on the amazing aspects of technology and how people ruin it. In one episode they talk about a pseudo social media platform.


Netflix 2015, Black Mirror, Accessed July 29, 2017, <https://www.theverge.com/2016/10/24/13379204/black-mirror-season-3-episode-1-nosedive-recap&gt;

Long story short, a ‘social media’ platform has become paramount to all people’s existence and influences most aspects of their lives. Instead of ‘likes’, people rate each other based on their interactions and as a result you have a rating attributed to you. This rating determines not only your social status, but also your class in life. For example, you need to achieve certain a rating to live in a specific upscale community. As a result, people become ‘fake’ in their interactions with others to achieve a higher status and without giving away the episode, things take a nasty turn and people end up showing their true colours.

An article written by Tash Robinson gives a great breakdown of the episode and talks about its satirical nature, but also touches on the truthfulness of the episode. The fact of the matter is there is a social platform (not a successful one) created in 2015 called Peeple that was essentially the same platform described in this episode, minus the applications to real life classism.

I’m not saying that we’re headed towards a society that bases people’s stations in life on their social media popularity, however, there is something to be said about social media being a popularity contest and it affecting people’s day-to-day lives.

There are TONS of people who have made a great living from being ‘popular’ on social media. They’re not particularly successful or intelligent people, but they know what people want to see on social and have created picture perfect personas online that people gobble up! As result, they’ve made a good, if not great living!

So here’s my question for the group…we know social media determines popularity on some level, but is it possible for the average person that our day-to-day lives will become more dependent on our ‘social status’?

Twitter – Are you taking part in the Ultimate Online Popularity Contest? Read more to find out!

Facebook – Are we headed down the path to an online pageant where our lives are directly impacted by our online popularity? Read Social Media – The Ultimate Online Popularity Contest to find out.

Growing Up in the Social Age

“Mom I’m on the internet…get off the phone!” That isn’t going to make sense to everyone, but I can guarantee if you grew up in the 80’s or early 90’s you know exactly what I am talking about.

Back in the days of Ask Jeeves and Dog Pile we had this thing called dial-up internet. For those of you born in the age of high-speed, you will never know the struggle of waiting ten minutes for your modem to boot-up so you could surf the net at a whopping 20 kbit/s. Or, the immediate rage felt when someone picked up the phone and booted you off the web.

So what am I angling at here? As someone in their 30’s I find myself reflecting on my experiences with social media and how I have watched it start from nothing and develop into a necessity for many, if not most. With that in mind, let’s take a look at the progression of social over the last 20-30 years.

The 90’s

So as I mentioned, when I was a youngster social media was in its infantile stage. We had passed the age of Internet Relay Chats (IRC’s), which was a really basic instant messenger service and moved into a more modern age of messaging known as ICQ. Now for those of us that remember this, it was a game changer! You could chat with your friends at any time, have a biography (usually song lyrics), invite friends to play REALLY basic games and you could even customize the colour of your screen…pretty mind-bending stuff, right?


And then they changed the game yet again with Six Degrees. This was the first ‘real’ social media site that allowed you to list friends, instant message and event post to a bulletin board! It was from this platform that we begin to see the more modern social network sites that we are familiar with.

The 2000’s

At the turn of the millennium, social media as we know it today really started to take shape. The early 2000’s brought about Friendster, MySpace and LinkedIn and ushered in the age of social networking circles. This meant that you were no longer restricted to interacting only with your immediate friends, but could widen your social circle to friends of friends and further. It was at this point that social media entered an expansive age and things really started to ramp up.

Alright, now we’re entering a phase of social that all of us will be familiar with, the mid 2000’s. Around 2006, the world was given Facebook and Twitter…Hallelujah! These allowed you to share, pictures, links, create events, ‘like’ friends posts and a myriad of other wonderful social interactions. These platforms have advanced over the last 10+ years but the general idea of them has remained largely the same until now.

The 2010’s

This is when social EXPLODED and we experienced what I like to call “social overload”. Social media platforms now allow you to communicate in every imaginable way and share every little thing you are doing, where you’re doing it and who you’re doing it with. There are so many options out there that it’s near impossible to keep up with all of them so most people pick a couple favourites and stick with them.

So what have we learned here? Social networking started with messenger services, then upgraded to advanced messenger services and from there it rocketed into a plethora of social networks that allow you to communicate everything, to everyone, in every way imaginable.

This is my question for the group…where does social media take us next and what is it going to look like ten years from now?

Thanks for reading!


Twitter – Did you grow up in the 80’s or 90’s? If so, check out Growing Up in the Social Age & take a digital trip down memory lane! http://ow.ly/JBDp30dH3y

Facebook – Wow, have we ever come a long way with social media over the last 30 years. Can’t remember how it all started back in the days of AskJeeves.com and dial-up internet? Check out Growing Up in the Social Age and take a digital trip down memory lane!