The emoji mothership has landed, parked up, and is now as much part of our lives as the morning commute. If you’re not familiar (where have you been?) they’re the friendly yellow faces and helpful symbols that supposedly denote every emotion that one could possibly experience in day-to-day life. Or do they? I asked a few of my fellow Limey’s to suggest some emojis that they wish existed. Naturally we couldn’t let this exercise go by without giving them a Lime green rebrand, so I present to you: The emojis we need in our lives. Bonus points if you can work out the team contributors who may – or may not – resemble their emoji.
Where Did it all Begin?
Emojis popped on to the scene in the 1990’s when Japanese mobile operators introduced them to their messaging services to help with electrical communications and act as a solve to a cultural issue. The Japanese language contains many words that can often have various meaning, therefore the intention to add an image or element of human emotion to clarify the tone was ideal and a cultural necessity. Literally translated from Japanese: ‘E’ means picture and (moji) means character. The very first emoji was designed by Shigetaka Kurita, a member of a team working on NTT DoCoMo’s i-mode mobile Internet platform. Lifting inspiration from the City and his surroundings, Kurita was said to be influenced by the symbols used in weather reports, Chinese characters and Manga cartoons.
The popularity of emojis grew tenfold when Apple included the emoji keyboard in 2011 with Android following suit two years later. According to wired.com, 92% of all people online now use emoji with one-third using them daily. The rise of this new way of communication has proven so popular that in 2015, Oxford Dictionaries named 😂 (Face with Tears of Joy) as their Word of the Year!
So why so popular? As we all know, social media and digital language is so commonplace that it’s overtaken face-to-face conversation – with one draw back; the lack of tone . As originally experienced by the Japanese (although to some lesser-degree) when words are typed on a page it’s difficult to know the tone in which they were intended, and this is where the emoji jumps in to save the day.Adding emojis to our text (or even on their lonesome) gives us an indication as to how the message should be interpreted, a key and integral part of any conversation. Embarrassed? 🙈. Sarcastic? 😏. Find something hilarious? 😂. Joking or flirting? 😉. Or furiously angry 😤.* Emoji’s are by no means the first attempt at adding human emotion to a message. Prior to the emoji, there was kaomoji, which were pictures made out of punctuation and keyboard symbols, with pictures usually forming across multiple lines. Then there were emoticions, the sideway smilies which typically included a colon, a dash and a variation of a bracket.
The pictograms we have now seem far more advanced yet also seems to be an evolving process. Apple are reportedly introducing 72 new emojis when iOS 10 gets released, including that of an avocado, an emoji blowing their nose, a gorilla, a whiskey on the rocks and a black heart amongst others. Due to the evolving technology and the way in which we communicate, it’s impossible to predict what form of emoji or method used to convey emotion we’ll see in the future, one I’ll no-doubt embrace. Until such time, I’ll continue to emoji thumbs up at every situation that dictates a yes/okay/good kind of scenario.
*of course all emojis are open to interpretation.