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  • Adam Tarnow

Well, this is embarrassing

Recently I made a deliberate change in my communication. In an attempt to bring more levity to my life and spread more joy, I've consciously begun to use ๐Ÿ˜‚ on a regular basis. This decision was a difficult one. I've made fun of emoji use over the years. To me, using them felt a tad juvenile. Like showing up to a business meeting and taking notes in my fine Italian leather portfolio while using a blueberry scented Crayola Marker. Who would do that? But then 2020 happened. The world felt ๐Ÿ™, and I wanted it to feel more ๐Ÿคฉ so the use of ๐Ÿ˜‚ felt like a harmless yet helpful way to get there. Suppose someone texted me anything that remotely resembled a joke. They got ๐Ÿ˜‚ texted back to them. If their text message did make me laugh, then they got ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚. Three of them in a row! I mean, seriously, what was happening to me? Am I about to start dancing at weddings and reconsidering my views on cat ownership? My most egregious and brazen use of ๐Ÿ˜‚ was happening on LinkedIn. I'm so embarrassed. We all know LinkedIn is not known for its levity and zany good times. Using ๐Ÿ˜‚ on that platform felt like trying to make a joke at a funeral. Yes, it was risky, but sometimes it works. As far as I know, no one "unconnected" with me, and I continued to receive the same number of cold-call solicitations promising, "to generate more leads for your business than ever before!!!" Well, this all changed last week. Why? Because my buddy Ryan Howell (yes...the same Ryan that I called out last week for enjoying Long John Silvers) sent me an article from CNN entitled, Sorry, millennials. The ๐Ÿ˜‚ emoji isn't cool anymore. My initial reaction? ๐Ÿคฌ followed by the all too familiar feelings of shame, embarrassment, and a tad more shame.

I was wrong. When I used ๐Ÿ˜‚ I wasn't adding levity or spreading joy. My use of this emoji was like going out in public wearing jean shorts, sandals, dark socks, and a Batman t-shirt. Sure, Iโ€™ll look normal while sitting in the lobby at the local Discount Tire, but that's not the way I want to live my life.

Once again, Iโ€™ve learned some lessons. My reaction to this embarrassing news.

  • GenZ is the new Millennial. Please note, we're no longer trying to impress Millennials, and weโ€™re now trying to impress GenZ. (Shameless plug: This podcast can help).


  • For me, because Iโ€™m not a GenZer (or an ancient Egyptian), I will probably stick with words when I communicate. Iโ€™m not telling you to live this way. This is just where Iโ€™m landing.


  • In the end, it's all about sincerity. Just be sincere. Thatโ€™ll never go out of style, and no one will poke fun at sincerity. So long as you are sincere in your communication, youโ€™ll do fine.

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