As a rabbi, educator and communal leader, it’s incredibly important to write and speak using proper grammar. Your emails and letters must be spelled correctly, use proper syntax, etc. After all, you don’t want to convey a message to people that you and your organization are sloppy and aren’t scrupulous about the small but important details in life.

Nowadays, we live in a time where writing and communication is rapidly changing. People send text messages on the go and write emails quicker than you can snap your fingers. Communicating with the written word has gotten trickier. A new set of rules is slowly developing.

The greatest example of how the rules of writing are changing is that using a period at the end of a sentence—and certainly in a text message—can come across as sounding aggressive! Another example of this is the recent elevation of “because x” to Word of the Year 2013, (as in because reasons, because awesome).

In light of the above, if you are wondering how you can send a quick text message or email reminder about your shiur, and not come across as pushy and aggressive, you must know about emoticons.

Emoticons are a textual expression representing the face of a writer’s mood or facial expression. They are often used to alert a responder to the tenor or temper of a statement, and can change and improve interpretation of a plain sentence.

AMEX OPEN recently reported that using emoticons increases comments and engages your readers by 33%. As notes, “the fact they increase engagement makes sense since their very definition ties into and derives from social media.”


And so, if you are looking for a way to come across as a warm and caring communal leader or certainly want to be relevant to teenagers and millenials, you should not write as if it’s still 1999.

Instead, consider the fact that Buddy Media says that posts with emoticons receive 52% higher interaction rates and have a 57% higher like rate, 33% higher comment rate and 33% higher share rate.

In short, emoticons, when used properly and most importantly sparingly (don’t go crazy and leave an emoticon at the end of each and every sentence), can be a great way to express your tone and humanize your message.

We encourage you to learn more by viewing the graph below that shows the interaction rate across each emoticon.




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