They say a picture is worth a thousand words, so what of an emoji? These little digital icons or emoticons have become so popular nowadays that they have invaded the digital world(especially in text messages and on instagram) and some believe they are now starting to seep into real life.
So you might be asking what do you mean by that. Well, a couple of weeks ago I caught up with a group of my friends and whilst we were chatting the subject of emojis came up. Now in a group of eight, only one of us is an android user and much to her annoyance, any emojis that she receives from us iPhone users always come through looking weird, or oddly similar thereby making it very difficult for her to understand exactly what our texts to her mean. And it got me thinking, why do we people nowadays send emojis and what is it about them that makes this trend so socially appealing to most people?
One emoji in particular that stands out is this one . My android user friend pointed out that this specific emoji is not just something we send her regularly, but we have also begun making that hand gesture around her in real life. So doesn’t that say something? The fact that a small emoticon on my phone can influence my behaviour to doin real life.
Now I’ll admit, before I got an iphone I used to feel jealous of all the emojis that people could send and to an extent I felt a little left out because I couldn’t be apart of it and send my own. Which makes me think that now that I can send emojis just how much are they apart of my life?…And it dawned on me.. they are very much apart of my life. For instance, whenever I use my iPad and I want to send an emoji to my friends and I can’t, I get annoyed. Or if for example I upload a photo of the beach it would feel dull to me without some of these and isn’t that just a little bit sad?
I remember watching The Project on channel 9 a few weeks ago and one of the news stories was about a couple(Ms Stark and Mr Goldmark) that decided to only send each other emojis for an entire month and they said that it actually improved their relationship! Despite the fact that at times it was difficult to communicate i.e making plans to go somewhere, once the month was over and they started using words again they were unhappy and decided to go back to using emojis. Apparently they both found that ” emojis are better for conveying affection and positive feelings” rather than using words. In fact, Ms Stark “said that she she actually preferred receiving a symbol of affection over being sent the words ‘i love you.'”
(emoji conversation between Ms Stark and Mr Goldmark)
How interesting is that? But I guess it’s not that surprising! I mean, when I think about it, emojis often make me laugh or make me happier when I get them.
Originally I thought that all my emojis on my iPhone were created by Apple and that they had become so popular because of the brands success. But then I did a little research and actually found out that an organisation known as “The Unicode Consortium” is the maker of all these emojis!
Several months ago Unicode announced that in July a new group of emojis would be released. A lot of people were eager for this but not all for the same reasons. Apparently there has been a petition for Unicode to create African-American emojis. Celebrities such as Miley Cyrus actually tweeted about the issue stating how she disapproved of the lack of diversity in Apple emojis. As a result people petitioned to have “atleast four faces with some melanin: a man, a woman, a boy and a girl.” This demand reached the attention of Apple CEO Tim Cook who made it clear to the public that having a range of diverse emojis was a priority to Apple but at the end of the day Unicode are the creators of emoji not Apple making it their problem.
Now seeing that it is September I had a look to find out if Unicode had released some African-American emojis and unfortunately I can’t seem to find them in their list provided on the Unicode website. This in itself sparks a lot of questions one of which would be “is emoji being racist by excluding some cultures?” but it also highlights the fact that emoji has become so integrated into our society that there are some people that believe Unicode is being racist and that all cultures should be included.
Funny how one simple little image on my phone has progressed from being cute and funny to something that is almost exclusive in a way and that those who are excluded from the apple emoji world feel the need to be apart of it and that all individuals should be equally represented in this emoji world.
So whether it is because of your race or what type of phone you have, emoji has managed to become apart of our human lives and its impact has changed the way in which we behave and how we are viewed socially by others.
I hope you enjoyed reading this post!
Till next time digital world…
xoxo this digital dummie
P.S If you would like to know more about these topics check out some of these websites: