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The internet has permanently changed the way people express themselves. Many words no longer mean what they used to. Some feelings and thoughts can no longer be conveyed within the constraints of language. So we, the generation that grew up on the internet, often turn to what may be my favorite invention of all time: the emoji.
As is often said, “a picture is worth a thousand words.” Emojis are full of nuances and complexities that extend beyond the capacities of verbal vocabulary. Mad at someone, but not really? Use an emoji. Want to say something sort of (extremely) embarrassing and diminish the consequences? Use an emoji. Accidentally open a message you don’t know how to respond to (you meant to leave them on delivered)? Use an emoji.
And so, without further ado, here are my top ten niche(ish) emojis, in no particular order, and how I like to use them.
1. “worried face”
Astounded? Flabbergasted? Completely taken aback? This is the emoji for you. Apple has named this emoji “worried face,” but if I send this to you, I’m not worried about a situation — I’m worried about you. Whatever you just said has left me with no words — only emojis.
I was appalled to find out that despite there being over 400 types of beans in the world, these three dark kidney beans are the only ones that exist in Apple’s emoji roster. I have so many questions. Why kidney beans? Why three? Unfortunately, we will never know. Use this emoji sparingly. You’ll know when the time is right.
Considering the popularity of the term “trolling,” I am disgusted at the underwhelming usage of this troll emoji. “Troll” is cute, lovable, and the perfect response to any controversial or provocative text in the groupchat.
4. “hundred points symbol”
This one is a classic. It’s the perfect affirmative — punchy, excited, the slightest bit ironic. The two red underlines add so much flavor and emotion. The hundred points symbol is truly a joy to send and receive.
5. “anatomical heart”
The people have decided that the classic heart emoji is out. Some have turned to “<3” to fill the emptiness in their keyboards. Others have turned to the “anatomical heart.” This emoji makes me feel smart — intelligent, even. I won’t major in STEM, but using this emoji makes up for it.
6. “woman in lotus position”
Look at her: meditating, healing, protecting her mental health. When I use this emoji, I’m practicing self-care. If everyone aspired to become the “woman in lotus position” emoji, the world would finally know peace.
7. “eleven o’clock”
Trying to figure out when to meet someone? Send them your proposed time via any one of the analog clock emojis. Confuse them a little. Make them work. Let them figure it out.
8. “disappointed face”
This is by far the saddest emoji of all time. With its downcast eyes and small, dejected frown, I just want to give this emoji a hug. Use only when absolutely necessary — this one breaks hearts.
Everyone uses the “sunglasses” emoji, but “glasses” is devastatingly overlooked. If I send you this emoji, you just said something so out of line that I needed to get my glasses and read it again. It is truly powerful.
10. “office building”
This emoji intrigues me. What kind of office is this? Where is it? Why are there so many windows? Who’s in there? Use the “office building” emoji when attempting to be mysterious. “Where are you?” “🏢” You’ll never know.
—Staff writer Najya S. Gause can be reached at email@example.com.
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