In a world where there are so many different ways and outlets to communicate, one system has stood out above the others: EMOJIS.
These little pictographs you see on their separate keyboard on your iPhone or iPad are relatively new, appearing in the last couple years or so, with origins in late 1990s Japanese cell phone usage (which explains much of the appearance of some of the emojis). Emojis were encoded into Unicode Standard in 2010, with over 700 characters currently in existence.
Emojis are there when words don’t or can’t say enough, to provide a visual example to a message, and for all those moments in communication and life when you just want to include a cute little relevant emoji. With each younger, tech-savvier generation, emojis have permeated to the furthest depths of the internet: Twitter supports them in a remarkably clean 2D style (see this article), you can track the use of emoji on twitter in realtime on emojitracker.com and there’s even a Wikipedia-esque website dedicated to explaining different emoji, Emojipedia.
What perhaps makes emojis so interesting is how users of emojis have let their creativity skyrocket with these cute little images. People have mixed them into and with other forms of media, art, literature, fashion, and film—just about ANYTHING to create new works of art. A quick list of my favorite emoji-related works:
1. EmojinalArt: Tumblr-style art gallery with emojis fused onto famous works of art
2. Emojis find their way into haute couture: Moda Operandi’s “M’OTICONS” collection of emoji-themed slippers and clutches, only $340 for a pair or $1600 for the clutch…
3. EMOJI-NATION by Nastya Nudnik, more Art + Emoji. Parts 1, 2, 3, and 4.
4. Mashable’s retelling of Literature and Mean Girls through emoji
5. DRUNK IN LOVE EMOJI MUSIC VIDEO.
6. The Library of Congress adding its first emoji novel (Emoji Dick, a retelling of Moby Dick but through emoji) into its collection
7. Google Chrome’s April Fools Day joke of Translate into Emoji. The real issue here is why isn’t it available all the time???
When buzz started earlier this summer of about 250 new emoji supposedly being released in July, the internet just about exploded with excitement and other new kinds of emojis started to spring up left and right, from the Seinfeld emojis to iDiversicons (while not actually emoji, but rather stickers you can attach to messages) to the petition to create a hot dog emoji and last but not least the first emoji-only network. According to The Unicode Standard, Version 7.0 chart here, released in June, there are 255 new emoji set to be released, with preliminary sketches included of the new characters. HOWEVER, there has been little said about when exactly these emoji will be released as it seems they will not come in time for iOS 8.0, set for release in September. According to the Unicode Consortium, the specification needed for the new emoji will come in October but there are no guarantees when exactly following the emojis will be available for use.
So in the meantime, I’ll just be waiting here.