The Deevolution of Communication or is it?

I sent out a text message to a friend and all I got back was a smiley face; while it is probably preferable to a “LOL.”  I cannot help but feel that we are evolving back to the stone age where our emojis are becoming a form of cave painting in an electronic format.  Or maybe I am just getting this all wrong and emojis are a complex form of shorthand.  They do say that a picture paints a thousand words; but, how many words does an emoji paint?  If that is the case, then I failed in this communication.  If I was more technically savvy, I should have sent back hearts or something.