Sending the wrong message: the trouble with emojis - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

Sending the wrong message: the trouble with emojis

Some students at the Mississippi College School of Law say, in the court room, it will go far beyond the little yellow characters. Source: WLBT Some students at the Mississippi College School of Law say, in the court room, it will go far beyond the little yellow characters. Source: WLBT
JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

Emojis can mean different things to different people in different situations. Because of that, they're now leading to lawsuits. 

Experts say, as images become more important in our society, the court cases are going to follow. They say the image we send to someone might show up as a completely different image on their phone. But even if it's the same image, it's just that, an image, not the written word, and there's no legal standard to interpret the meaning. 

Some students at the Mississippi College School of Law say, in the courtroom, it will go far beyond the little yellow characters. 

"We have to be able to determine the intent of the sender and the effect it could have on the recipient," says Taylor Herring, a third year law student. 

Herring and Kathryn Pickett, also in her third year of law school, have studied social media symbols in some of their classes. They both predict plenty of future legal tangles involving emojis and sending the wrong message.

Pickett says, consider a scenario where a senior citizen was let go from his job, and his colleagues traded texts about it.  

"If someone texted another person in the office and said, 'we just fired Jim', and used the elderly man emoji, then that could be used in a discrimination case that they fired Jim because of his age," she says. 

They say, when attorneys analyze a law or statute, they look to the statute itself, and use dictionary definitions. 

"But emojis aren't in the dictionary, so when we're looking to the intent of what someone meant when they sent the emoji, there's nothing there," Pickett adds. 

As emojis become more mainstream, attorneys are often left with the responsibility of determining the true meaning. 

"Or, the attorney might have to display to jury the emoji itself and allow the fact finder to decide," Herring tells us.  

So can we embrace the evolving world of emojis and keep ourselves out of trouble? Yes, if we take a minute and think before we send. 

"These emojis can come in in any type of civil or criminal trial, and you should be careful about what you use," Pickett advises. 

Should we use emojis at all in the workplace?

Business.com says, according to a study published in Social Psychological and Personality Science, emojis actually make workers appear less competent. An Office Team survey found that 39 percent of senior managers think it's unprofessional to include emojis in work communications.

Their opinions could ruin your reputation as a qualified expert.

Copyright 2018 MSNewsNow. All rights reserved.

Powered by Frankly