One of the great paradoxes of the communication tools that are designed to help folks work together is how poorly they scale: what seems like a convenient way to share information quickly turns into an avalanche of messages that one feels compelled to keep up-to-date with.
Over the past year or so, Lee, Maha, and I have written several times about the various ways we use or teach with Slack, a modern platform for communications that can often feel more or less like a modern ICQ chat environment. Slack is not immune to this problem. As they write on their official blog, “messages begot more messages: replies, questions, acknowledgment. In a word, noise.”
To combat this problem, they added emoji reactions to messages, and watched as a whole culture of emoji emerged as a way to simplify communications. (They annoyingly refer to them in the post as “reacjii,” but there’s no need for you to do so.) For example:
A handy tip for fielding requests: if you leave a message asking for help, someone can volunteer by reacting with:eyes:. That means they’re going to take a look. Once the work is done, we like to use :white_check_mark: to mark it as complete.
It looks like this:
If you use Slack, or other communications platforms that support emoji, the articles are definitely worth a read. Do you have a shared lexicon of emoji in your class, lab, or writing group? Please share in comments!