Colorado State University recently published a new social media guide for its students and organizations. The tone of the guide was encouraging “more inclusive” dialogue and discussions online by “avoiding gendered emojis,” among other social media do’s and don’t’s, according to Campus Reform.
Emojis are smiley faces or other miniature pictures often used in text messaging or social media to express emotions to someone else. They also include weather icons, common objects, facial expressions, and transportation icons.
The guide, entitled, “10 Ways to Make Your Social Media Channels More Inclusive,” sounds like a totalitarian edict or mandate, rather than a how-to guide for college students. Instead of coddling students, the guide appears to directly instruct students how to live their lives on social media and what language they should use.
The guide says to “use inclusive pronouns,” which means using pronouns such as “Xe” or whichever pronouns people would prefer. Also, the guide recommends avoiding the use of specific emojis that are one gender or the other, to avoid offending other people. Instead, students should use the generic yellow emojis in online conversations and social media posts.
Colorado State University is not alone in issuing guides for its students, but these recommendations appear to be heavy-handed, rather than helpful.