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Thoughts on emojis

November 21, 2016 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 94, ISSUE 46

The editorial on science emojis really scraped the bottom of the barrel (C&EN, Nov. 14, page 3). Emojis are nothing more than an indication that their users are incapable of expressing themselves with words. The C&EN reporter who had been invited to attend Emojicon should have declined, saying, “Chemists do not need emojis because they can actually read and write words.”

Originality and wit cannot be summoned on command on a weekly basis—I understand that. But if Editor-in-Chief Bibiana Campos Seijo cannot come up with something meaningful to say in her column, it’s perfectly all right to forgo the column every now and then. Fill the space instead with letters to the editor or with readers’ photographs of the views from their laboratories. Filling a page of a respectable publication with illiteracy-promoting drivel was an unfortunate choice.

Dean Meyer
Winder, Ga.

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Paul Lummis (November 23, 2016 11:24 AM)
While it is very true that "chemists can actually read and write words", one of the main responsibilities of scientists is to be able to communicate their message to the wider audience - and that includes budding young scientists who are perhaps more used to communicating in 140 characters or less. Social media has provided an excellent platform for myself, personally, to connect with fellow scientists from across the globe, and so there is no reason why this media should not be embraced as we seek to further engage the next generation in our work, If used appropriately of course.

If the development of these emojis can encourage even a few young minds to become further engaged within the sciences and communicate with experienced scientists, then they should be embraced and encouraged - especially as their existence does not in any way prevent us from communicating more formally when required.

As long as they do not detract from the message of the work, what's the harm? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Ronald Myers (November 27, 2016 3:03 PM)
I agree completely with the comments by Paul Lummis. Emojis are meant to be fun and harmless, and science should embrace these symbols designating a light-hearted and less serious side of chemistry and science. All too often, scientists are viewed as being overly serious, nerdy and lacking in a sense of humor. Clearly, this description doesn't apply to all, but if these emojis can serve to break down that sometimes overly-serious image and make science a bit more approachable, then the emojis are serving a valuable purpose for all involved. Kudos to the Editor-in-Chief for her comments on emojis. As previously noted... ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Bob Buntrock (December 2, 2016 5:02 PM)
I agree with both commenters. Although I only have a "dumb phone" and don't use small screen handhelds or Twitter, I can appreciate the need for brevity and short forms for effective communication in those media. Heck, I have a long list of emojis available and I occasionally use them in e-mails.

Edit: my spell checker questions "emojis" and recommends "mojos", "emesis", and "enosis".

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