How tiny images are able to better communicate our thoughts and feelings
By Nicci Groenmeyer
It's 8 am and I've already sent over 20 emojis. Can you think of a time you didn't use an emoji in a text? Can you think of a time where an aubergine was just an aubergine and a peach was just a peach? Yuh, neither can I.
According to Adweek writer, David Cohen, in 2017 more than 60 million emojis were used on Facebook each day and more than 5 billion that are used on Messenger. Does this mean that we've simply stopped using actual words? Or is it simply way more fun to use these tiny images to better communicate our thoughts and feelings. Why not send a 3D Animoji that uses your voice and mirrors your facial expressions to really get your point across.
When Shigetaka Kurita; a Japanese designer, invented the emoji or emojis in 1999, I don't think he realised that these little icons would transform the way we communicate forever. Even being declared the Oxford Dictionary's word of the year in 2015. 157 new emojis will be released on iOS 12.1 bringing the total number of emojis in the Unicode Standard to 2,823, a far cry from the humble 176 Kurita first designed.
It's 2018 and we're living in a world that is becoming more and more inclusive. Unicode listened and emojis have stepped up. As we know, representation matters, and, finally, we have a red-head emoji. Gingers rejoice! You no longer need to choose an awkward shade somewhere between brunette and blonde. That's not all; a suite of 13 new emojis including hearing aids, service animals, and prosthetic limbs has been proposed to the Unicode Technical Committee.
The entertainment and fashion industries couldn't resist the hype. The Emoji Movie saw the emojis make their big film debut. Drake and Miley Cyrus both sport emoji-inspired tattoos. Celebs and fashion designers have created their own versions including; Bmoji (Bonang Matheba), Kimoji (Kim Kardashian), Justmoji ( Justin Bieber), Versace and Gucci just to name a few. Even Ellen DeGeneres plays 'Explainy the Emoji Exploji' on her show. Acne Studios released two collections featuring their version of emojis on hats, tees and sweatshirts. Chanel featured emojis in their Fall 2016 and Resort 2017 collections. The list truly does go on and on.
What fascinates me the most about the entire emoji culture is the acceptance and use of emojis vary by age, by cultures and traditions and even by the language you speak. Take the fire emoji for example; the flame could be used to reference a real fire, something that is hot or can be used to flirt, to convey attraction or even the slang term 'lit', depending on who you're speaking to. Who knows how many emojis have double, or triple meanings around the globe.
Perhaps with the next update, they'll finally make a chocolate ice cream in a cone, and help me to better express my love for peanut butter and margaritas.