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  • World Emoji Day: The Surprising History, Culture, & Abuse of Emojis!

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    Jeremy Burge, the founder of Emojipedia, created the World Emoji day celebration in 2014, specifically on the 17th of July because the date happens to coincide with the date on Apple’s calendar emoji. 

    calendarioemoji-1461603066081_615x300

    Emojis, however, were invented in 1999, by Shigetaka Kurita, a Japanese employee at NTT DoCoMo, developers of the i-mode mobile Internet platform (Google it). Kurita recognised that the 250 character limit the company allowed on its platform (back then of course) would not do to convey a variety of emotions. Hence, he created the first 176 emoji set, with dimensions of 12*12 pixels.

    the-original-set-of-emojis-designed-by-shigetaka-kurita-data

    Kurita drew inspiration from how Mangas’ artists illustrated the emotions of the characters; from how ancient and modern pictographs were used in sending clear messages (like road signs), and a lot more.

    “Everything was shown by text. Even the weather forecast was displayed as ‘fine’. When I saw it, I found it difficult to understand. Japanese TV weather forecasts have always included pictures or symbols to describe the weather—for example, a picture of sun meant ‘sunny’. I’d rather see a picture of the sun, instead of a text saying ‘fine’,” Kurita said.

    By CNN

    After Kurita’s inspired emojis, the Japanese market witnessed a boom in the use of emojis. Mobile phone competitors were at each other’s throats to create better emoji sets to distinguish them from their competitors, but this had its own drawbacks.

    The most significant drawback was that the emojis weren’t universal, or at least the emoji set of company X couldn’t be displayed on company Y’s phones. In the end, the issue was resolved, and it was Apple’s turn to influence the culture of texting through its iPhones.

    Apple found emojis to be their ticket to the Japanese market, and they adapted those emojis into their OS to suit the market. However, they hid it from other markets (US, MENA, the whole lot). Regardless, “tech-savvy North American users determined that they could force their iPhones to unlock this emoji keyboard by simply downloading a Japanese-language app. From then on, the use of emojis has spread like wildfire beyond Japan, as Apple realised the huge demand for this outside Japan, too,” webdesignerdepot.com added.

    Later, the Unicode Standard started supporting those emojis.  This move paved the way for emerging competitors to adopt several emojis into their sets, however they wanted, with them being displayed on competitor’s phones.

     

    Culture

    Things like sushi, and bowing people were in the first release of the Unicode Emoji, representing the Japanese culture.

    There have been 7 releases of the Unicode Emoji so far, and each carried a new set of emojis that were reflecting the influential society around us. With the first set of the Unicode Emoji (Unicode 6.0) in 2010, emojis of gay couples were amid a long list of what we now know as emojis. In 2015, Apple adopted the gay couple/family emojis into their OS. Along with that, apple introduced new emojis to reflect the world ethnic diversity.

    Screen-Shot-2016-09-02-at-1.00.56-AM-e1475687017560 (1)

    The Unicode Standard released another set in 2015 (8.0), which included an emoji of the Kaaba, which several 0S developers (Samsung, Google, Apple & more) adopted.

    kaaba_1f54b

     

    Abuse

    1) Influential individuals in the society have been using emojis to create trends like Fifi Abdou and her 5 mwah. Check the caption

     

    2) Some businesses and individuals abuse emojis. They could insert over 50 characters in one post, on Facebook, just to say “This is a party (replace with emoji) on a beach (replace with emoji) with drinks (replace with emoji) and seafood (replace with emoji). I am in a bikini (replace with emoji) looking hot (replace with emoji), getting sun (replace with emoji) kissed (replace with emoji). Pretty self-explanatory, eh?

    3) People are using the wrong emojis in the wrong contexts, thank god for Emojipedia. If you are one of these people, please use it. If you are a grammar/punctuation savage, consider it to be on the same level because, basically it is.

    While Kurita was saying that people should often opt to use emojis to convey emotions that are hard to put in words, these days, some people find it unnecessary to include an emoji to convey the full emotion behind the message. We need to say that that one emoji addition can have drastic, irreversible consequences. It could cause you no end of break-ups with a partner, or fights with your mum or dad (who don’t even use them, you insolent fuck (ya 3aaaq)). Alternatively, it is way easier to convey a lot of emotions through emojis (don’t abuse them). Last but not least, saves you time. If you are angry and you dgaf, you like that “I will fuck you up smile” J, you love someone, or you have gone out of your way to become Satan himself; emojis will accommodate your selfish, loving, caring, hating, and evil needs. 

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    By Adel M. Fakhry

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