What Message is Your Emoji Sending?

Interpreting meaning in a text is hard enough, but did you know that the emoji you send doesn’t always look the same to the person receiving it? If you’re an iPhone user and you send an emoji to your friend with an Android phone, chances are that emoji can be misinterpreted and so can your message.

The emojis your phone has built in are dependent on your phone’s manufacturer. Android devices have the most variance due to having multiple manufacturers releasing the Android OS on their phones. Thus, when you send an emoji with one intention, the recipient may interpret it differently.

A study was done by GroupLens to prove this theory about the misinterpretation of emojis. The study found that even users on the same platform/manufacturer had different interpretations of the same emoji. It’s no wonder miscommunication happens.

I had a personal experience with this theory as I have a Samsung Galaxy (Android), and I have several friends with iPhones. The emojis I would receive didn’t always match up with the content of the text message. Due to the default messaging app being super slow in delivering my messages, I downloaded Textra to handle my text messaging needs.  My messages were coming through in a timely manner and I got the added benefit of being able to download other emoji sets to use with Textra. I downloaded the iPhone emojis and made it my primary emoji set and now I can really see what my friends are sending. Communication has definitely improved.

So the next time you send a text with an emoji, keep in mind your recipient(s) may be misinterpreting your message.

If you’re curious about each emoji and how it differs with each manufacturer, check out this chart on Unicode.org. It could save your conversations.


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