Sign up our newsletter

October 13, 2022

Fired For Using The Thumbs Up Emoji? Welcome To The Clown World

TheQuartering [10/13/2022]

According to TheNewYorkPost:

Buckle up — cancel culture has officially come for emojis. 

Gen Zers are calling out the popular thumbs-up emoji for being “rude” and “hostile,” even saying they feel attacked whenever they see it used in the workplace.

After a Reddit poster confessed to being “not adult enough to be comfortable with the thumbs-up emoji reaction,” others chimed in to agree and to call out other common emojis such as the red heart. 

“For younger people, the thumbs-up emoji is used to be really passive-aggressive,” a 24-year-old Redditor wrote. 

“It’s super rude if someone just sends you a thumbs up,” they added. “So I also had a weird time adjusting because my workplace is the same.”

Older workers appeared flummoxed by the reaction, noting they use the thumbs up in work-related chats to signal “I approve” or “I understood and will obey.”

Part of the issue is that young people tend to use the thumbs up in jest.

“I only use it sarcastically, though sometimes I’m not even sure if the irony comes across,” Barry Kennedy, 24, told The Post. He said he only used it to communicate with boomers like his parents or older colleagues. 

One anonymous office worker chalked it up to a “generational communication culture difference.”

“Everyone my age in the office doesn’t do it, but the gen X people always do it,” they wrote. “Took me a bit to adjust and get out of my head that it means they’re mad at me.”

Others complained that it comes across as dismissive.

One Reddit user noted that the thumbs up actually means that “I’ve read your message and have nothing [to] add and I hope and pray … all the bazillion people in this group chat have nothing to say on it too.”

Instead, Gen Zers said they’d prefer a typed-out response.

“We’re people and we have words to use,” Kim Law, a 25-year-old social worker from Massapequa, told The Post. “If I took the time out to write a thoughtful message then you shouldn’t be responding with the bare minimum. Fix it and write something real back.” 

Several Reddit users agreed with the decision to cancel the emoji, saying that using it in a work environment makes the team members “unaccommodating” and seem “unfriendly.”

Lifestyle and etiquette expert Elaine Swann — who has done corporate training on the matter — advises the avoidance of emojis all around in the professional world, if only to avoid misinterpretation.

“[Emojis] can be interpreted as disrespectful,” Swann told The Post. “It can differ from generation to generation. Across the board, people want to know they’ve been heard and emojis do not convey that for everybody.” 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *