Love in the Time of Algorithms

Budding Relationship Destroyed by Thumbs Up Emoji

Sexting is such sweet sorrow.
Sounds good bro.

Sounds good bro.

If there is one universal indicator for determining a good partner, it is not compatibility or intellect or even bangability, it is this: emoji literacy. Unfortunately, endearingly hapless San Francisco startup founder Michael Galpert had to discover this the hard way when he inadvertently ruined a relationship by misusing the thumbs up emoji.

The New York Times reports that as emoji use proliferates, so too does the need for “modern-day digital intervention[s]” with people who remain ignorant of emojis’ different meanings. The eggplant emoji, for example, does not mean what you think it means, unless you think it means “big dick.”

For Mr. Galpert, it was the ubiquitous and bro-ish thumbs up emoji that ultimately did him in. When his lady friend would text him pink hearts and martini glasses, he thought he’d respond positively–”Yes, I like what you are typing to me!”–by sending back a thumbs up emoji. Unfortunately his date interpreted this as a lack of romantic interest.

“It’s like he’s saying ‘Hey, dude’ or ‘Sure, bro’ when he sends me that emoji,” she told the Times. “It’s not cute.”

Eventually the two ended the promising relationship, but not before Mr. Galpert learned a valuable lesson. “I’m no longer using the thumbs-up emoji,” he said in the Times. “I’ve switched it out for the star emoji.”

May we humbly suggest the finger emoji pointing towards the OK symbol emoji? It’s much sexier.

Follow Jessica Roy on Twitter or via RSS. jroy@observer.com