The smiley face: bet you’ve never given this little guy much thought. So you may be surprised to hear that a recent study by the University of Cambridge Computer Laboratory showed a simple smiley face has the power to positively influence your social media presence and alter a reader’s perception of you. Here’s why you might want to give the emoticon a space in your daily discourse:
- Scientists have determined that looking at a smiley face activates the same parts of our brain as looking at an actual smiling face. It’s an easy way to add a human element to your email. Interestingly, this only occurs when the colon is put first; parentheses first doesn’t have the same effect.
- Emoticons suggest a friendlier, more competent person is behind them. Not only can emoticons increase the likelihood that your reader will like you, but they can help the reader more easily remember what you’ve said.
- There is a strong link between emoticon use and user influence on social media. The more powerful the user, the more likely they are to use emoticons in their online communications.
Are emoticons okay to use in your work emails? That’s a judgment call. But research shows that the writer’s credibility isn’t affected by the use of emoticons. So if something makes you smile, don’t be afraid to show it!