Tom Boellstorff, a professor of anthropology at the University of California, Irvine who has studied avatar representations in the game Second Life, says emoji take the place of physical gestures in digital conversation. “In the physical world when we communicate, we use our voice but we also gesture with our hands and our bodies and use body language,” he says. “That actually conveys a lot of information that is lost when we’re texting.”

For the full story, please visit


© UC Irvine School of Social Sciences - 3151 Social Sciences Plaza, Irvine, CA 92697-5100 - 949.824.2766