Among the symbols circulating on social web platforms, emoji play a special role. Graphic in nature, they are used jointly by users and community managers. By analyzing these uses, through a massive collection of tweets supplemented with interviews with practitioners, we take emoji as a starting point in order to establish how a grammar of relations between audiences and organizations can be observed. Following the use of emoji allows us to highlight the emotional and affective work of community managers as well as the type of relationships they can build, using “word-images” or “word-emotions.” Emoji then act as emotional affordances guiding professional practices in a constantly changing environment. The final result is that the singular expression of affections, mediated by affective functionalities, feeds a general sentiment that serves the interest of platforms, and incidentally the interest of brands.
- community manager
- brand discourse