Cynthia Crofoot Rignanese, Esquire
Thinking Globally, Practicing Locally in Central Florida Since 1990

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Emoji Law

I encourage people to read this Wall Street Journal Article on how emojis are affecting the law and lawyers! 

Lawyers Faced With Emojis and Emoticons Are All ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
The article talks about how emojis are affecting lawsuits and testimony. 

My thoughts 👩💬... Pictographs have been used by humans for thousands of years. As a traveler in China recently, I know that China, a major superpower in the world, was built over millennia, and still runs today on a written pictographic language. This works because visual symbols easily serve as mnemonic devices to encapsulate disparate ideas.

Emojis may be considered "cute" or "unprofessional" by some modern standards, but as linguistic symbols, they carry and convey conceptual meaning; they should be given legal consideration because they can change the meaning of a statement. One could even argue that the adoption of memetic symbols into a previously 100% phonetically written language is an evolution in complexity, not a "dumbing down." Now, instead of writing an entire string of words, spell checking and using a computer search to confirm appropriate punctuation in order to accurately express an idea, entire phrases or ideas can be encapsulated, shared, and understood with one tiny face. Happy Face! Sad Face! Angry Face! Rolling On Floor Laughing Out Loud Face! These tiny faces allow for a higher density of thoughts to be conveyed with so much ease and efficiency that any child with a phone can do it.

Perhaps we should not be so quick to count our emoji-loving kids and friends as lazy or inarticulate. They're actually utilizing the same communication bandwidth plus methods you have, to convey more conversational information, more quickly. And it allows one to interpret that information with greater emotional accuracy, which text alone does not always convey well. 

How many times have you heard jokes about wishing there was a "sarcasm font"? Emojis cut down on misinterpretations of intent.

Is it still nice to express emotion with proper words?
Is it necessary to do so?
...Quite frankly, no.
Would Shakespeare’s sonnets have been different if he had emojis?
Yes, and I am sure I would not want to see that adjustment.

But language is not a static item. It evolves. Ours is simply acquiring a hybrid pictographic element. Like it or not, this "visual slang" is not going back in Pandora's box.

Cynthia Rignanese