If you use this popular emoji at work, you could damage your career

Careful, parents: your children probably think your emoji use is lame.

Finding the right emojis to use in any situation can be like taking an exam back in school. In some cases, it can be used to your advantage through email by opening an avenue encouraging fluid communication that goes against the grain.

Whether it’s sending it to a colleague or to a friend, picking an emoji shouldn’t be a brain buster when it comes to expressing how one feels in a situation (but don’t use the smiley emoji in email).

There are a lot of smiling emojis, but which truly conveys the way I feel? Is this one too creepy, or is it too cheesy? Does this emoji actually mean I’m crying, or does it mean I’m crying laughing? Is it actually funny, or is this too sarcastic to send to my boss?

The Emojipedia, a website that tracks emojis, said 217 new emojis have been released in 2021, which brings the total number of emojis to 3,353. That means there’s thousands of ways to send an emotional reaction — and that means some are going to be considered uncool by many.

For instance, the crying laughing emoji. According to younger TikTok users, the emoji — also known as the “Tears of Joy” emoji that spews out tears with a hysterical mouth — is no longer cool because it has been overused by Millennials and older generations. CNN reported that Gen Z, which populates the social media video site, says the emoji is no longer cool because older people use it.

“I use everything but the laughing emoji,” a 21-year-old told the outlet. “I stopped using it a while back because I saw older people using it, like my mom, my older siblings and just older people in general.”

The detailed report said that Gen Z-ers prefer the skull emoji, which is designed to convey phrases like “I’m dead” or “I’m dying” in a comedic tone.

Instead, younger people suggest using the “Loudly Crying Face”, or going old school with acronyms like “lol” (laughing out loud) or “lmao”, in place for the crying laughing emoji.

There was a time when the loudly crying face was cool, however. Despite it being the most-used emoji, according to Emojitracker, Apple said it was the most popular emoji in the US in 2017.

One internet linguist told CNN that the “Tears of Joy” emoji was a victim of its own success due to reaching meteoric heights.

“If you indicate digital laughter for years and years in the same way, it starts to feel insincere. … The hyperbole gets worn out through continued use,” said Gretchen McCulloch, via CNN.

If you’re trying to connect with a younger colleague or impress your kids the next time they send you a funny video, remember to refrain from using the “Tears of Joy” emoji and opt for something simple, like a boring “lol”.