๐ŸŽ†๐ŸŽŠ Celebrating World Emoji Day ๐ŸŽˆ๐ŸŽ‡

A tribute to the symbols that eased our communication โค๏ธ

Emojis have been up and grinding since the late 1990s. Theyโ€™ve continued to be part of our digital communication ๐Ÿ“ฑ๐Ÿ’ป๐Ÿ–ฅ๏ธ for over 20 years now . Though these lively little icons have been the worldโ€™s way of expression for just about a decade, theyโ€™ve influenced us in so many ways, offline too.

Emojis have not only simplified our language online, which wouldโ€™ve otherwise needed awkward verbatim ๐Ÿคข, but their influence has also rubbed off on our real lives. We now have emoji merchandise, emoji goodies, emoji furniture, emoji clothing, and so much more ๐Ÿคฉ.

As a gesture of our love, gratitude, and appreciation towards emojis and their journey with us, hereโ€™s to the rising emoji era ๐Ÿฅ‚ and its incredible way of making our lives and our communication so much smoother ๐Ÿงˆ.

๐Ÿ’  E-mo-ji ๐Ÿ’ 

If itโ€™s not obvious just yet, emoji was originally a ๐Ÿ‡ฏ๐Ÿ‡ต Japanese idea. As means of carrying forward the heritage of its roots, these symbols stuck with the name โ€™emojiโ€™ ๐Ÿซ‚. The name refused to change with the changing world. It neither became anglicized nor localized. It stayed true to its origin.

โ€˜Eโ€™ translates to ๐Ÿ–ผ๏ธ โ€˜pictureโ€™, โ€˜moโ€™ to ๐Ÿ“ โ€˜writeโ€™ and โ€˜jiโ€™, to ๐Ÿ‘พ โ€˜characterโ€™. Emoji is essentially a manner of pictorially putting together a character, an emotion, a personality, or even an idea, and writing it or inserting it into a textual format. Emojis are symbols of emotions on digital paper.

The History of Emojis ๐Ÿ

Original Emoji Set 1

We cannot talk of the present ๐ŸŽ by gulping the past. What is now is only a milestone on the journey ๐Ÿ›ฃ๏ธ of what was. So, throwing ๐Ÿ”™ to the emoji genesis, hereโ€™s a brief history of these digital symbols we use today.

Emojis began in a Japanese interface designing office in 1999. It all started when Shigetaka Kurita and a couple of his colleagues sketched up a 12ร—12 pixel pictograph for DoCoMo, a Japanese mobile operator ๐Ÿ“ถ. The initial release of 176 emojis was endorsed by the latter and offered as an added feature to all their existing and new customers.

Eventually, the number of emojis on the list did surpass expectations ๐Ÿ” , but they did not leave the Japanese borders โŒ. Emojis remained a niche part of virtual communication in Japan until 2010. It was then that Unicode took to globalizing emojis ๐ŸŒ. However, emojis became an international trend only in 2012 ๐Ÿ—“๏ธ.

The Reason For Creating Emojis โ“

The reason we use emojis today is not very different from the reason they were created in the first place โ˜๐Ÿพ. Emojis were a prioritized design on Shigetaka Kuritaโ€™s team to create symbols that spoke louder than words ๐Ÿ“ข and comparatively occupied lesser space ๐Ÿค๐Ÿพ.

These strict criteria, not to forget the insane dimensions, was required in order to fit into the rigidly limited e-mail character count ๐Ÿ”ข back then. Emojis soon became an efficient manner of speech ๐Ÿ—ฃ๏ธ online, without the need for words. They planted the language of pictures ๐Ÿ€.

โœจ The Inspiration โœจ

Some pictographs

So far, we know that emojis are a Japanese invention ๐Ÿ”. In fact, emojis were formerly made to be used as linguistic symbols on Japanโ€™s emailing platform(s) ๐Ÿ“ง. Hence, it can be safe to say that emojis became a vital part of Japanโ€™s digital language back in the day. Though thatโ€™s not entirely true, in some sense, it is ๐Ÿค”.

Emojis are based on kanji, the modern Japanese writing system โœ๐Ÿพ. Now, kanji is a part of the Japanese alphabet, but with pronounced Chinese characters that are highly pictorial by nature ๐ŸŒณ. Going through and through it all, the ideographic Chinese alphabet reveals itself as the inspiration for emojis ๐Ÿ˜Ž.

World Emoji Day ๐Ÿ“…

World Emoji Day was first coined in 2014 by Emojipedia ๐Ÿ˜ƒ๐Ÿ“™. They were the first to come up with the idea and the need to dedicate a day to these pictographs that we use so often. Ever since, World Emoji Day has been a celebration for all emoji users, emoji enthusiasts, and emojiologists alike.

Many operating systems and leading designers await the 17th of July to make big announcements ๐Ÿ“ฃ about emoji renovations and releases of new emoji designs and sketches. Microsoft Fluent, for example, has announced a refreshing look ๐Ÿง‹ for all emojis, that will soon reflect on all platforms and devices. Five new designs ๐Ÿ–๐Ÿพ follow the announcement.

Emoji Stats ๐Ÿ“Š

With a decade worth of emoji usage on a global level, itโ€™s naturally magnetizing ๐Ÿงฒ to be informed of the statistics, because emojis are not just symbols or characters ๐Ÿ™…๐Ÿพ. These pictographs depict human emotion to a larger extent. And weโ€™re curious to know the winning emotion ๐Ÿ†.

The new generation may not find joy, happiness and laughter as endearing as the rest of us. Though millennials and gen-z-ers tend to be a lot grumpier and angrier, a greater portion of emoji users favour the laughing emoji or the emoji ๐Ÿ˜‚ with tears of joy the most. This only goes on to say so much about us. Either weโ€™re laughing with the joke or at it ๐Ÿคฃ.

The Big Question ๐Ÿคฏ

There are many linguists and communication experts who condemn the existence of emojis ๐Ÿ‘Ž๐Ÿพ and the terrifying extent to which we use them ๐Ÿ˜ฑ. Emojis are thought of as a dangerous stream of communication that can dissolve all humane capacity to use our words ๐Ÿ”ฐ.

Emojis can never drown ๐ŸŒŠ the language we, humans, built for ourselves. They only enhance the experience of human connection ๐Ÿซ‚ through speech and chat. In any case, only emojis hardly do the talking ๐Ÿคซ. Unless, the sender isnโ€™t thinking enough ๐Ÿฅด. Theyโ€™re made to involve emotion to a rather objective tone of digital communication ๐Ÿ˜. And we know how many words explaining an emotion takes.

Bridging the Gap ๐ŸŒ‰

If we were to say that weโ€™re cheering for you without a hint of emotion, it would be akin to mechanical, robotic language ๐Ÿค–. Thereโ€™s no emotion there. In person, we feel that connection ๐Ÿ™Œ๐Ÿพ because the speaker and the receiver can see each other ๐Ÿ‘€, therefore, can understand the intent and the tone with which the communication is taking place ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿพ.

Online, thereโ€™s an emotional gap ๐Ÿ•ณ๏ธ. The sender says that he/she is rolling on the floor, laughing. ๐Ÿ†’. The message is sent and received ๐Ÿคฃ. But something was lost along the way. The right words were definitely used on either side of the digital wall ๐Ÿงฑ, but emotional honesty? Yes, emojis too are not always used honestly ๐Ÿ˜‡, but at least, they interpret emotion thatโ€™s painstaking to communicate with texted words.

When we use emojis, we take the โŒš time to find the one. Which means, we take the time to translate whatโ€™s on our mind, by relentlessly looking for the right emoji to show what we mean ๐ŸŽญ. Thatโ€™s what emojis do. They bridge the gap of emotional honesty ๐Ÿค• by bringing together people who are only physically distant ๐Ÿ‘จโ€โค๏ธโ€๐Ÿ‘จ. They donโ€™t stretch that distance ๐Ÿœ.