Emojis have been up and grinding since the late 1990s. They’ve continued to be part of our digital communication 📱💻🖥️ for over 20 years now . Though these lively little icons have been the world’s way of expression for just about a decade, they’ve influenced us in so many ways, offline too.
Emojis have not only simplified our language online, which would’ve otherwise needed awkward verbatim 🤢, 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 🤩.
As a gesture of our love, gratitude, and appreciation towards emojis and their journey with us, here’s to the rising emoji era 🥂 and its incredible way of making our lives and our communication so much smoother 🧈.
💠 E-mo-ji 💠
If it’s not obvious just yet, emoji was originally a 🇯🇵 Japanese idea. As means of carrying forward the heritage of its roots, these symbols stuck with the name ’emoji’ 🫂. The name refused to change with the changing world. It neither became anglicized nor localized. It stayed true to its origin.
‘E’ translates to 🖼️ ‘picture’, ‘mo’ to 📝 ‘write’ and ‘ji’, to 👾 ‘character’. 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 🏁
We cannot talk of the present 🎁 by gulping the past. What is now is only a milestone on the journey 🛣️ of what was. So, throwing 🔙 to the emoji genesis, here’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 12×12 pixel pictograph for DoCoMo, a Japanese mobile operator 📶. 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 🔝 , but they did not leave the Japanese borders ❌. Emojis remained a niche part of virtual communication in Japan until 2010. It was then that Unicode took to globalizing emojis 🌐. However, emojis became an international trend only in 2012 🗓️.
The Reason For Creating Emojis ❓
The reason we use emojis today is not very different from the reason they were created in the first place ☝🏾. Emojis were a prioritized design on Shigetaka Kurita’s team to create symbols that spoke louder than words 📢 and comparatively occupied lesser space 🤏🏾.
These strict criteria, not to forget the insane dimensions, was required in order to fit into the rigidly limited e-mail character count 🔢 back then. Emojis soon became an efficient manner of speech 🗣️ online, without the need for words. They planted the language of pictures 🍀.
✨ The Inspiration ✨
So far, we know that emojis are a Japanese invention 🔍. In fact, emojis were formerly made to be used as linguistic symbols on Japan’s emailing platform(s) 📧. Hence, it can be safe to say that emojis became a vital part of Japan’s digital language back in the day. Though that’s not entirely true, in some sense, it is 🤔.
Emojis are based on kanji, the modern Japanese writing system ✍🏾. Now, kanji is a part of the Japanese alphabet, but with pronounced Chinese characters that are highly pictorial by nature 🌳. Going through and through it all, the ideographic Chinese alphabet reveals itself as the inspiration for emojis 😎.
World Emoji Day 📅
World Emoji Day was first coined in 2014 by Emojipedia 😃📙. 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 📣 about emoji renovations and releases of new emoji designs and sketches. Microsoft Fluent, for example, has announced a refreshing look 🧋 for all emojis, that will soon reflect on all platforms and devices. Five new designs 🖐🏾 follow the announcement.
Emoji Stats 📊
With a decade worth of emoji usage on a global level, it’s naturally magnetizing 🧲 to be informed of the statistics, because emojis are not just symbols or characters 🙅🏾. These pictographs depict human emotion to a larger extent. And we’re curious to know the winning emotion 🏆.
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 😂 with tears of joy the most. This only goes on to say so much about us. Either we’re laughing with the joke or at it 🤣.
The Big Question 🤯
There are many linguists and communication experts who condemn the existence of emojis 👎🏾 and the terrifying extent to which we use them 😱. Emojis are thought of as a dangerous stream of communication that can dissolve all humane capacity to use our words 🔰.
Emojis can never drown 🌊 the language we, humans, built for ourselves. They only enhance the experience of human connection 🫂 through speech and chat. In any case, only emojis hardly do the talking 🤫. Unless, the sender isn’t thinking enough 🥴. They’re made to involve emotion to a rather objective tone of digital communication 😐. And we know how many words explaining an emotion takes.
Bridging the Gap 🌉
If we were to say that we’re cheering for you without a hint of emotion, it would be akin to mechanical, robotic language 🤖. There’s no emotion there. In person, we feel that connection 🙌🏾 because the speaker and the receiver can see each other 👀, therefore, can understand the intent and the tone with which the communication is taking place 👍🏾.
Online, there’s an emotional gap 🕳️. The sender says that he/she is rolling on the floor, laughing. 🆒. The message is sent and received 🤣. But something was lost along the way. The right words were definitely used on either side of the digital wall 🧱, but emotional honesty? Yes, emojis too are not always used honestly 😇, but at least, they interpret emotion that’s painstaking to communicate with texted words.
When we use emojis, we take the ⌚ time to find the one. Which means, we take the time to translate what’s on our mind, by relentlessly looking for the right emoji to show what we mean 🎭. That’s what emojis do. They bridge the gap of emotional honesty 🤕 by bringing together people who are only physically distant 👨❤️👨. They don’t stretch that distance 🍜.