How to make a sarcastic emoji

Written communication: beware, sarcasm! How best to mark irony

The smartphone is a blessing and a curse in one device. It makes a lot of things easier and makes things even more complicated - communication, for example. It's easier to send a quick message when it takes longer than to call. But writing also has one disadvantage: you never really know what the sender meant his message. Does “Chic outfit today” mean praise or is it sarcastic and you look impossible?

In a conversation, the tone of the other person clarifies this, but ulterior motives are difficult to interpret from the letters. Fortunately, there are smileys or - as they are called today - emojis. Because almost every emotion has already been translated into a little yellow face. The online network Facebook recently introduced alternatives to the classic "Like" button. Users have been waiting for this for a long time. But do such emojis really help convey sarcasm and irony?

Three ellipses or;) indicate sarcasm

Psychologists from the University of Nottingham in England asked this question and tried it out on students. They wanted to know: When do students classify a message as sarcastic and how do they feel afterwards? To do this, the test subjects had to rate messages that either ended with a wink smiley;), three ellipses ... or a simple point. The message could be formulated positively like: "Your presentation was so interesting". Or it was formulated negatively, so: "Your presentation was so boring".

Any news writer can learn something from the results of the study, which was published in the Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology. Namely: If the context in the message does not indicate whether a message is meant seriously or sarcastically, one or the three ellipses help to make it clear to the recipient: That is sarcasm. However, if something is clearly meant seriously, the wink smiley and the ellipses should be omitted. Because with them, the test subjects also perceived serious news as sarcastic.

The study by the British scientists shows something else as well: sarcastically formulated criticism is usually perceived as less bad by the recipient. So if you want to tell someone that they don't look particularly fit, you better write: “Well, particularly awake again today;)” instead of “Man, do you look tired”. If, on the other hand, you formulate praise sarcastically, that will also be perceived as less positive. "Chic outfit" is better received by the recipient than: "Do you look ugly again today;)".