The fourth annual World Emoji Day (yes, it’s a thing) is Monday, celebrating the explosion in use of the little characters that have changed the way people around the world communicate.
Some have despaired that the symbols are the harbingers of the end of the written word. But experts say that far from destroying language, emoji are enhancing people’s ability to fully express themselves as text-based communication increasingly replaces face-to-face interaction.
“Emoji is making us better communicators in the digital age,” said linguist Vyv Evans, author of The Emoji Code. “Saying that emoji is a backward step would be like saying when you speak to someone you’re not allowed to make any facial expression.”