We celebrated the fourth annual emoji Day on Monday, July 17, 2017. Emojis as we all know are the little characters in our phones and online messengers that lighten up our conversation and makes our mood better while talking.
Some even say that symbols indicate the end of the written language. But experts contradict from this statement saying that, emojis are actually responsible for enhancing people’s ability to fully express them in a text based conversations where emojis effectively replicate the facial expressions at most times.
“Emoji is making us better communicators in the digital age,” said linguist Vyv Evans, author of The Emoji Code. “Saying that emoji is a backward step would be like saying when you speak to someone you’re not allowed to make any facial expression.”
Evans explained, “One of the problem with digital communication is when it relies on textual communication, sucks out empathy out of the communication, which can lead to miscommunication. This is where an emoji comes in and plays its character. It puts the body language back in, so people can better read the emotional intent.
The rise in the emoji popularity over the past few years shows how much the world is anticipating a way to include all sorts of indicators in text-based communication. There are currently 3.2 billion people who use internet and 92% of them regularly use emojis in their communication.
So where did it all begin?
The first digital use of emoticons is attributed to computer science professor Scott Fahlman, who noticed jokes on his department’s bulletin board at Carnegie Mellon University were falling flat to being misunderstood. So, on September 19, 1982, Fahlman suggested people use a smiley face emoticon to indicate joke and a frown face to indicate something went wrong. “This convention caught on quickly around Carnegie Mellon, and soon spread to other universities and research labs via the primitive computer networks of the day,” Fahlman later wrote. “Within months” he was seeing variations appear like the open-mouthed surprised emoticon and emoticons for people wearing glasses.
Emoji. The actual program that we use on your smartphone was born out of a similar frustration in Japan with the limits of text. Shigetaka Kurita created emoji, the word is a combination of Japanese words for pictures and letters, for the Japanese telecom NTT Docomo.
In Japan, miscommunication may arise due to the shortness of any message. You don’t know why someone has sent you a message and you may get angry due to that. These and similar experiences were shared by the mass communities and it is the sole reason behind the creation of emojis.
Could emoji become a language on their own?
A Stanford University PhD graduate, Schnoebelen said in his thesis that is extremely unlikely that emojis would become a language that would stand alone, because the symbols lack the fundamental feature of human language; Grammar. Similar to the lack of colors and patterns in website designing that will make websites look bland and unnatural, lack of grammar cannot possibly fulfill the requirements of forming into a language.
Here is how Apple celebrated the World Emoji Day
As part of the celebration of the World Emoji Day, the creator of the iOSmobile application development platform, Apple has revealed the final versions of some of the new emoji it will be introducing to iOS in the its next version; iOS 11 which is due to come out in autumn 2017.
Among the new pictograms the company has showed off are a bearded person and breastfeeding along with food items such as sandwich and coconut.
“More animals and mythical creatures like T.rex, zebra, zombie and elf are a fun way to describe situations and new Star-Struck and Exploding Head smiley faces make any message more fun,” the company said.
Jeremy Burge, the head of emoji resource Emojipedia and creator of World Emoji Day, said he expects the smilies, which also include a vomiting face and a wacky face, to be the most popular.
“The most popular emojis with users are always the smileys and gestures,” Burge said, speaking from a car on the way to the Empire State Building, which will be lit up yellow to celebrate the day. “These regularly top Emojipedia stats and platforms like Twitter and Facebook.”
After the latest group of emoji, which included some much-requested additions including “woman with headscarf”, Burge thought that a redheaded emoji was the most-requested icon that still doesn’t come with iPhones.
“Emojipedia requests show a redhead emoji dominating requests for future additions,” he said. “Redhead is now a candidate for 2018, as well as curly hair and a bald headed person.
“There’s been a lot of demand for a ‘hand heart’ emoji,” Burge said, “which looks like two hands making a heart shaped gesture. Hearts are always very well used on social and messaging platforms, so it makes sense that people want more variety in how they do that.”
Burge said he was “pretty chuffed” for Apple to acknowledge World Emoji Day for the first time, “as their calendar emoji design showing July 17 is the reason I made World Emoji Day today in the first place. It makes sense that they might want to be involved on a day they unwittingly helped create.”
Emoji may not have replaced text just yet, but they are getting closer: the pictorial icons have revolutionized digital communication since becoming a fixture of the iOS keyboard in 2011, and adopted by most other platforms soon after.