Words – some old, others new – and emojis (pictographs) may carry different meanings online, with meanings changing over time, the United Kingdom’s ambassador to Zimbabwe Melanie Robinson learnt the hard way on Saturday.
By Staff Reporter
The envoy was led onto Zwitter (Zimbabweans on Twitter) land’s dark side when her post about vegetable recipes including eggplants on the micro-blogging site was turned into a sexual discussion.
Eggplants, just like the peach emoji, while innocent, have been used to imply messages of a sexual nature, but that memo may have skipped the diplomat until this weekend.
“Happy Saturday Zimbabwe. How’s the lockdown going for you? The best thing for me – apart from keeping myself and Zimbabweans safe – is coming up with recipes from my wonderful veg. garden. I’m eating a lot of (eggplant emoji) and (spinach emoji),” she wrote signing out with #Covid19Zim #StayAtHomeSaveLives.
This sparked a wave of responses from tweeps who were either making fun of it or telling her just how polysemic messages can be online.
“The eggplant emoji will cause a lot of commotion Her Excellency, tinorwara senyika (we are a sick nation),” responded @NOBLECHADNEZZA1.
Jewels @jewels_bbyju wrote: “Ambassador too much of (eggplant emojis) might not be good for social distancing.”
No one can blame the envoy’s apparent lack of appreciation for the urban dictionary but others drew suspicions from the ignorance.
“So who amongst you sadza eaters snitched and told the ambassador what her emoji represents in the dirty minds of the wicked (laughter emojis). I think the ambassador was being naughty she knew,” wrote @posh_zw.
There is no telling the extent of damage the faux pas may have caused to the image of Robinson but at least she saw the funny side of it all.
“So I learnt something today on the use of emojis. Hope it amused some people during lockdown at least,” she said.