Remote communications are super fragile. When we are chatting online, writing comments online, or sending emails we do not see each other and so we are not reading non-verbal signals like body movements, facial expressions. Recently I’ve encountered a perfect example demonstrating how a very small thing may really affect the quality of your online conversation in a bad way!
This communication issue was caused by .. a smile icon!
So, we were chatting with a developer on Upwork. Upwork (NASDAQ: UPWK) is one of the largest online freelance marketplaces in the world. Last few years they’ve made a lot of improvements in the user interface to help their clients and freelancers communicate better and faster. And one of these improvements was a set of new smile icons inside online chats. These icons automatically replacing “old school” text smiles like this : ) into a small funny smiling icon.
We are all accustomed to these smiles icons because we see them in all other online chats. And we are all using a lot of smiles inside chat messengers like iMessage, Whatsapp, Facebook Messanger, and social networks like Facebook, LinkedIn, and others.
And here is how a text-based smile : ) is auto-replaced with an image on Facebook:
This is how : ) is replaced in Apple iMessage chats:
And this is how : ) is replaced with an image on Upwork:
See the difference? Upwork icons are slightly different from other online chats! It may look like this icon is not just smiling but actually laughing:
For example, this phrase: