We’ve noticed that over the last 6 months or so – and especially during COVID times – the ’emoji avatar’ is making its way into professional life.

Ever since Apple introduced a cute, animated new way of making ‘memojis‘, back in June of 2018 (video above), these avatar-icons have become more popular ever since. Lots our personal friends use their self-made look-a-like-emojis to chat on WhatsApp and iMessage, discarding the boring, standard yellow emojis, for a lot more personal and affectionate ones.

Memojis in business: a new trend?

Everyone knows second life: a digital platform on which people can literally have a ‘second life’, embodying their virtual counterpart. It was a popular game that allowed people to lead a new life without restrictions, money problems or relationship failures (although those could took place in SL too!).

Nowadays, we have TikTok, Minecraft, Animal Crossing and other widely used platforms which allow people to share their feelings, thoughts and laughter (TikTok), and show others what kind of amazing virtual worlds they can build (Minecraft, Animal Crossing, and many other platforms).

The question is: will this virtualization, and apparent ‘need’ to express oneself in a digital (parallel) universe, ever hit the professional world? The ‘new normal’ in which we find ourselves today, forces us to almost exclusively interact through Zoom, Google Meet or Bluejeans, effectively slashing any face to face presence. And since we’re all human beings at the end of the day – and as such interact with our friends through emojis, memojis and GIFs, on a daily basis – it will only be a matter of time before we apply this to our professional setting as well. Or will it?

We don’t know if this will happen in such rapid pace. For one, it’s called ‘professional’ for a reason: conducting business should be about results, actions and processes. Not primarily about emotions and personal feelings. Entering an era whereby it would be normal to send an ‘evil cat meme‘ or a dancing bear, is probably not something happening quite soon.

However – and the main reason for writing this article – over the last 2 months, we have seen at least 3 individual project team members (from different clients!) use their ‘memoji’, as official Google Meet or Zoom avatar (rather than using an actual picture or just initials).

Though this ‘evidence’ is only anecdotal, and by no means a start of a definite trend, it is an interesting little development that caught our eye. Will people start feeling more comfortable to use their ‘digital identity’ in a professional business context, as projects will become increasingly more remote and virtual?

Will people start feeling more comfortable to use their ‘digital identity’ in a professional business context, as projects will become increasingly more remote and virtual?