Semiotic Basis for the Use of Emoticons, Emojis and Stickers in Social Media Communication
Abstract:Technological advancements and recent innovations and trends have affected virtually all aspects of human interactions to a great extent. An aspect of these innovations concerns the use of emoticons, emojis and stickers in instant messaging and other digital communication applications. The aim of this study is to examine the extent to which the usage of emoticons, emojis and stickers has influenced communication on social media platforms; how well students use emoticons, emojis and stickers on social media; whether there are problems associated with the usage and attachment of meaning to these devices on social media and how such problems can be addressed. Data for the study was sourced through the administration of a questionnaire on fifty very active users of the social media who were randomly selected from among undergraduate students of Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba-Akoko, Nigeria. The responses to the questionnaire were analysed and interpreted using simple percentage, and the results are presented in tables. The findings of the study show that emoticons and emojis are prominent tools that encourage social media communications and interactions, and aid comprehension of messages among active social media users. The study recommends that measures be put in place by the controllers and administrators of social media to prevent negative or illicit usage of emoticons, emojis and stickers given that these devices can sometimes be vulgar, unofficial, misapplied and/or misinterpreted.