Our communication has evolved to incorporate 'emojis'. The younger generation are more than au fait with using them to express themselves. However, in these challenging times, I think that there's a real opportunity to leverage emojis - both the range and how they're used - to reduce the social isolation and facilitate more meaningful virtual conversations.. #1 Range of Emjois - A new set of emojis are needed that a) reflect the #BeKind message - and are b) practical in their application. a) Until recently there wasn't even an emoji for 'forgiveness' (https://bit.ly/2JhzOhg). There is a gap here to develop a whole set of emojis that easily express care, compassion and concern. b) There's an opportunity to produce emoji 'phrases' - perhaps those which use the new one emojis in a) - and also combine existing one. 'Are you lonely?' 'Would you like a virtual coffee?' etc. #2 There's an opportunity to then train people to effectively use these emojis - perhaps some fun, online class where people can practise them (Emoji Academy?!) I think that this is a fun and effective way to connect with young people who may be isolated. It could also be a tool to engage older people who may not use emojis as often. There's also an intergenerational piece - perhaps young people are trained to use emojis and then hop online to have a chat with an older person - the ice is broken through trying to communicate as much as poss through emojis! Plus, there are the positive benefits of checking in with people to see how they're doing, if they need additional help etc. This whole project would be an excellent example of adopting a community development approach in these challenging times.
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