Tucked under the category “Weird but True,” the New York Post profiled Gen Zers’ latest initiative to make our world a better place — canceling a dozen common emojis.
Move over climate change and world hunger, the fight is now to ban the popular thumbs-up, heart and okay emojis, because, as fragile Gen Zers put it, the emojis are “rude” and “hostile” and make them feel “attacked … in the workplace.”
According to the Post, the growing movement to cancel the dreaded emojis began when a “Reddit poster confessed to being ‘not adult enough to be comfortable with the thumbs-up emoji reaction.'” Many Gen Zers agreed with the need to ban the offending emojis and thus, a movement was created.
One Gen Zer wrote: “For younger people, the thumbs-up emoji is used to be really passive-aggressive.”
Another added: “It’s super rude if someone just sends you a thumbs up.”
The Post article notes that “older workers appeared flummoxed by the reaction, noting they use the thumbs-up in work-related chats to signal “I approve” or “I understood.”
Barry Kennedy, 24, told the Post that part of the issue is that young people tend to use the thumbs-up in jest. “I only use it sarcastically,” Kennedy said, but later acknowledged that “sometimes I’m not even sure if the irony comes across.”
One anonymous office worker wrote: “Everyone my age in the office doesn’t do it, but the gen X people always do it. Took me a bit to adjust and get out of my head that it means they’re mad at me.”
Another anonymous Reddit user claimed that the thumbs-up emoji actually means that “I’ve read your message and have nothing [to] add and I hope and pray … all the bazillion people in this group chat have nothing to say on it too.”
The article argues that Gen Zers, who perfected the LOL and BRB initialization text language, now prefer a typed-out response.
Kim Law, a 25-year-old social worker from Massapequa, told the Post: “We’re people and we have words to use. If I took the time out to write a thoughtful message then you shouldn’t be responding with the bare minimum. Fix it and write something real back.”
Many Gen Zers agreed, saying that using emojis, especially in a work environment, is “unaccommodating” and seems “unfriendly.”
Lifestyle and etiquette expert Elaine Swann agreed, saying, “[Emojis] can be interpreted as disrespectful. It can differ from generation to generation. Across the board, people want to know they’ve been heard and emojis do not convey that for everybody.”
Surprisingly, many Gen Zers indicated that the heart symbol was the most inappropriate emoji to utilize in communications. One Gen Zer argued:
“To me, the heart is reserved for friends and family, and has a more intimate meaning of love, while thumbs up is just simple agreeing. I actually find a heart emoji weird for work messages. I use heart emojis for things like when someone says ‘I got a new kitten,’ or ‘Susie did a really great job.'”
The Post noted that in a survey of 2000 people conducted by Perspectus Global, “a majority of people between the ages of 16 and 29 believe that you are ‘officially old’ if you use thumbs-up or heart emoji.”
The official list of “canceled” emojis includes:
- Thumbs-up 👍
- Red heart ❤️
- “OK” hand 👌
- Checkmark ✅
- Poo 💩
- Loud crying face 😭
- Monkey covering eyes 🙈
- Clapping hands 👏
- Lipstick kiss mark 💋
- Grimacing face 😬
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