Enter the Emoji

February 25, 2015

Blog | Culture | Enter the Emoji
Enter the Emoji

Apple recently announced they have expanded their emoji collection to be more racially diverse. Given that smart phone use is exploding in developing countries,  this is a great business decision, but it also shows that adding context-invoking pictures to a message is becoming mainstream practice.

For most of us, emoji are basically smiley faces… small animated images we can use in text messages and email to suggest emotions.  The humble semicolon and close-parentheses become a winking face. 

Slightly more complicated symbols are transformed into hearts or dancers.  Think emoticons++.  On the surface it seems cute and trite.  But to many users, emoji have become much more than decorations: they add feelings and context to an otherwise flat message.

What differentiates emoji from emoticons is that emoji are actually part of the character set on a computer.   I’ll say that again, they are part of the machine.

I joked with my coworkers that I was going to invent a programming language that was all emoji and emoticons. They yelled at me, but I nudged until they laughed.  

The truth is the way we communicate via text is changing more rapidly now than it has since the days of Gutenberg.  It’s impacting formal writing in college classrooms and will eventually infiltrate business documents. For some this sounds sacrilegious, others don’t view it so seriously.

Have you seen more emoji appearing in your communications?  Where do you think it’s going? Tweet us @GeekHive.

Dan Clouse

Senior Developer
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