Emoji have taken over the way we talk, but different phones’ emoji can lead to serious miscommunication.
GroupLens, a research lab at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, released a study (that will be officially published later on) titled “‘Blissfully happy” or “ready to fight’: Varying Interpretations of Emoji.”
In a blog post summarizing the research on the GroupLens site, researcher Hannah Miller explains how potential miscommunication could arise from emojis texted to and from different phones:
To your smartphone, an emoji is just like any other character (e.g., lower-case ‘a’, upper-case ‘B’) and needs to be rendered with a font. Since each smartphone platform (e.g., Apple, Google) has its own emoji font, the same emoji character can look quite different on different smartphone platforms. This is why when a Google Nexus owner sends to a friend with an iPhone, the iPhone owner will actually see
The potential miscommunication comes from how people interpret emojis, Miller says. The iPhone may appear as a neutral smile, or even a strained one, which can be seen as slightly negative. The Google Nexus is an upturned, more positive smile.
Lesson learned? Next time you pepper your text messages with emoji, make sure the words you use won’t be misinterpreted with a slightly-off emoji.