DEBATE: Should men use emojis?

The Oxford English Dictionary has recently named “emoji” its word of the year, but is it OK for grown men to litter their texts with them? We asked two ShortList writers…


Ralph Jones

When this precious world lies in ruins, the clocks stopped, the embers of civilisation carried by a cold wind across empty playgrounds, I’m certain that the blame will lie squarely on one hideous phenomenon: emojis.

To those who wax lyrical about emojis I feel like saying, “MSN – have you heard of it?” My friends and I used MSN when we were 13 – the only age at which it is acceptable to swap language for yellow faces. I closed my account when I was 17. I did not feel an emoji-shaped void in my life. I did not think, “I must circulate a cartoon thumb to all my friends.” Ultimately, I grew up. I began to communicate exclusively through the use of words. This is what we all need to do. And I include the Oxford English Dictionary in that assertion. Those massive trolls need to grow up and stop making ridiculous announcements.

For the sake of humanity, please – we owe our grandchildren so much more than a smiling poo.


Chris Mandle

As Ronan Keating didn’t sing: “You say it best, when instead of using seven words you use a cartoon poo”, and I think that’s advice we can all live by.

Social media, instant outrage and the need to channel an opinion without knowing the full story means we’re at a point where simply reacting to things is almost as common as just saying something, and emojis are an enormous part of that.

Good news, bad news, euphoria or simply the everyday need to describe someone with horsey features are easily achievable with minimal fuss in 2015. Think on that. But it’s not enough to ask whether it’s a man/woman thing; as anyone who has had to explain to their bemused parents an “A-OK hand sign” next to an aubergine can attest, emojis are clearly a generational thing, and one that can be more awkward than explaining the birds and bees.

They help us say the things we’d rather not, you know, say. Thumbs-up emoji to that.

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