Should I use an emoji?

I hate my liberal use of smiley faces and xxx’s, but I just can’t help it.  It seems that nor can anyone else, because I receive loads of emails per day, mostly from PR companies all littered with emoticon, lolz and OMG.

Which is why this flow chart made me laugh, a handy guide to let you know whether you should be using emoji’s…


One of my favorite bloggers Sarah Wilson has also commented on signing off emails with the humble “x”…

Sometimes, though, we have to be perfunctory, right? In such cases, I have to say, I’m a fan of the “x” – just the one, and definitely not accompanied by an “o” (we kiss a colleague’s cheek, but we don’t cuddle, right?).

I’d been awkward about this “x” business, too, for some time. But it’s one of  those things – once you start, there’s no going back. An “x”-less sign-off seems cold.

Plus, I learned this week that the “x” is now largely acceptable. It’s so commonplace, even in the business community, that it hardly seems inappropriate, even when mailing strangers. Norman Mailer’s widow Norris recently shared that she always uses an “x”, but as a “placeholder”. Which is where the tradition stemmed from – an “x” was used in medieval times by the illiterate to signify where they’d “kissed” to seal the document in the absence of a signature.

And The New York Times pulled no punches when talking about the use of emoticon’s in business…read it here. But I’m torn. Email can be so harsh, it has no soul and tone is totally lost. It’s easy for the receiver to misunderstand what’s being said (and HOW it’s being said).  Those little smiley faces, no matter how galling can make the world of difference.

My friend Becca for example has a little rule, she get’s off her chest whatever it is she needs to say but adds the xxx on the end so you know that she’s still in a good place, it makes me laugh and it’s now part of her routine.

But what do you think? Are we using the emoticon too much?

Author: Rachael

I'm a journalist and creative consultant. I write about how busy women (just like you) can live, work and eat - better.

4 thoughts on “Should I use an emoji?”

  1. Call me old-fashioned… but in business, I role my eyes when I see smiley emoticons… they remind me of teenage girls who dot their “i”s with a heart. If it’s a casual letter between friends in the workplace, no big deal but I get emoticons from people I don’t even know!
    In friendly correspondence I always try for a slightly off the wall emoticon.
    As for my Xs and Os I use them generously with friends but never in business.
    Am I dating myself?

  2. I use the smiley face a lot in business and personal communications.
    I don’t see any problem with that – if I was having a conversation with the person and it was one I would smile in then I can use a smiley emoticon.

    Of course if it’s a communication that I wouldn’t be grinning like a Cheshire Cat during then maybe not so much 🙂 (You see how that one just slipped in there)

    I only use the x in personal and didn’t even know what the o was for – thought oxo was a bit odd and wondered why people were signing off with a beef bouillon cube!

  3. I think that any way for you to express the “real you” is fantastic! In business, we too often try to let others see us as some expert and in doing so end up looking stuffy. Let the personality out! It’s yours, own it and be proud! 🙂

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