• 79°

Word of the year an emoji

Last week Oxford Dictionaries announced the Word of the Year for 2015.

This year, it’s the emoji that is known as “Face with Tears of Joy.”

An emoji is a “small digital image or icon used to express an idea or emotion in electronic communication.” It was created in Japan and is used on smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices.

On their website’s blog, Oxford Dictionaries said an emoji was chosen because it “best reflected the ethos, mood and preoccupations of 2015.” Its use was highly popular among smartphone users worldwide in 2015.

Oxford Dictionaries also said “emojis are no longer the preserve of texting teens — instead, they have been embraced as a nuanced form of expression, and one which can cross language barriers. Even Hillary Clinton solicited feedback in the form of emojis, and the ‘face with tears’ has had notable use from celebrities and brands alongside everyone else.”

Oxford Dictionaries’ decision to choose an emoji as the Word of the Year instead of an actual word has left some proponents of the English language offended. A word, that can be spoken between two people face-to-face, should have been chosen, they say.

An emoji winning 2015’s Word of the Year confirms that we are now spending too much time on our electronic devices, keeping up with one another virtually instead of spending quality time together in person.

Despite multiple studies showing that families who eat meals together around the table are closer, the amount of people who actually still come together at supper time seems to be diminishing. As people become more mobile and communicating electronically gets easier, sending a text rather than dropping by has become the norm.

We encourage you to make some “face time” with your family and friends, and we aren’t talking about using the FaceTime app. You’ll enjoy those moments in between conversations, real facial expressions and natural pauses that can be lost in texts, emails and phone calls. If you don’t already do so, plan a family meal together, sit at the table and ask each other about your day. You’ll undoubtedly learn something knew about your loved ones, and we promise you’ll be glad you set aside an hour of your day.