People in their mid-thirties and over are completely comfortable with using the thumbs-up icon, but Gen-Z workers have warned that it can come off as confrontational without context
Image: SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
Millennials and Gen X, listen up: you could be offending your Gen-Z colleagues by using the thumbs up emoji at work, as they claim it’s ‘passive aggressive’ and ‘confrontational’. Even worse, there are various other emojis that could make you ‘look old’ if you use them, as the younger generation have branded them ‘out of date’.
A 24-year-old has sparked debate over emoji etiquette after summing up the Gen-Z view over the controversial thumbs-up icon, as they argue that it should “never used in any situation” as it is “hurtful”. Taking to Reddit to share their view, the anonymous twenty-something wrote: “No one my age in the office does it, but the Gen X people always do it. Took me a bit to adjust and get out of my head that it means they’re mad at me”.
Others agreed and shared their own experiences of feeling uncomfortable after a work colleague used the seemingly harmless emoji.
“My last workplace had a WhatsApp chat for our team to send info to each other on and most of the people on there just replied with a thumbs up. I don’t know why but it seemed a little bit hostile to me,” one woman shared.
The digital culture discourse comes after one poll of 2,000 young people between the ages of 16-29 found the same results, with the majority of them agreeing that those who use the thumbs-up emoji are ‘officially old and past it’.
The survey revealed other emojis that are considered a no-go for Gen-Zers, as they are only used by ‘old people’ who need to move on with the times.
According to the results, other emojis that prove your ‘old’ age include the red love heart, the OK hand, the poo emoji and the monkey covering its eyes.
While these findings may leave some people baffled, Business Consultant Sue Ellson told the Mail that it could be time for older generations to rethink their emoji use.
Commenting on the reason Gen-Z colleagues get offended by the thumbs-up emoji, Sue says that using the icon without any other words or context is where the issue comes in, as understand how people could be threatened or disillusioned by the ‘all good’ icon.
“It feels like people are ‘too lazy’ to type a written response and it doesn’t provide clarity as to next steps,” she says.
“Do you mean yes I will do something, okay I agree or is it just confirmation that you received the message.”
Workers on Reddit have long been divided over the emoji issue, as people who are in their mid thirties or older are comfortable using the thumbs-up icon.
“Why do you feel like it’s unsettling? Honest question… because that’s literally how I respond to 90% of messages… I’m almost 40 though,” one person wrote.
Another is a staunch fan of the ‘all good’ icon, saying: “I love it because it means many many things. It means ‘I approve’ or ‘I understood and will obey’ or ‘I agree’.
“If anything, my only objection would be that some days it might be hard to tell which one it means. But it is generally pretty clear.”
Do you have a story to share? Email us at [email protected]