The Word

That’s right – for the first time ever, the Oxford Dictionaries Word of the Year is not a word. Rather, it is an emoji officially called “Face with Tears of Joy.” This image was selected as the ‘word’ that best reflected the mood and preoccupation of 2015.

The world’s word police point to a swelling global phenomenon.

An emoji is a digital image used to express an idea or emotion in electronic communication. The word emoji has been found in English since 1997. According to data from the Oxford Dictionaries Corpus, its usage more than tripled in 2015 over the previous year. These pictographs are no longer the exclusive domain of texting adolescents – instead, they have had notable use from politicians and celebrities and brands alongside everyone else.

Emojis have been globally embraced as a nuanced form of expression, one that can cross language barriers.

Emojis and Storycentric Communication

The Oxford Dictionaries selection highlights a macro shift that is gaining momentum: the preference for storycentric communication. This approach to communication holds that people tend to learn better and are more likely to be influenced through images, stories, and music rather than through abstract principles and conceptual thinking.

Eighty percent of the world’s people – including 70% of Americans – prefer storycentric communication.

Some of the world’s people must be considered storycentric communicators because they are illiterate, thus they cannot learn by any other means. But many others are storycentric because they prefer to learn and are most likely to be influenced through stories, images, drama, and music rather than abstract principles and conceptual thinking. Storycentric communication is clearly the most effective form of communication today in all cultures and contexts, and it is now being acknowledged by Oxford Dictionaries, the historic arbiters of the English language.

I work with an organization that specializes in storycentric communication, the use of images, stories, drama, and music to develop leaders.

Check out for more info.

The popularity of emojis may fade with time, but storycentric communication is here to stay.

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