Love them 👍 or hate them 👎, emojis are everywhere. These cute little icons have invaded our text messages, emails and social media, and are changing the way we communicate. With the tap of a button, we can use a digital shorthand to convey a level of emotion that plain text just can’t match.
Along with smileys and love hearts, there are 3,304 emojis in the Unicode Standard – including sequences for gender and skin tone – and there’s no sign of slowing down with new emojis released regularly following a strict approvals process.
The old saying ‘a picture tells a thousand words’ has never been more true. Five billion emojis are sent daily on Facebook Messenger and 900 million messages are sent using emojis with no text at all.
Media and Communications Lecturer Dr Tauel Harper said emojis overcome the lack of intonation and expressiveness in typed text.
“Emojis emerged from emoticons – and along with other forms of paralanguage such as all caps for shouting – in the dark days of Nokia 3310s, bulletin board systems and internet relay chat,” he said.
“With digital text, suddenly we could write quick, impulsive messages and expect quick, impulsive responses.
“It's amazing to see how quickly paralanguage is evolving; eggplants and peaches now mean something altogether different than they once did.”
It’s no surprise that emoji popularity has coincided with all-time high social media usage. Social media has to be social, and emojis help facilitate this – something marketers have been quick to capitalise on, according to Associate Professor of Marketing Paul Harrigan.
“Emojis give brands personality,” he said.
“Today's consumers, especially millennials, don’t respond to impersonal advertising. Emojis can get around this, subtlety. The message stays the same, but an emoji alters the sentiment conveyed.”
World Emoji Day is the annual celebration of all things emoji, fittingly landing on July 17, the date displayed on the calendar emoji 📅. Take the opportunity to jump online and post your favourite emojis with pride.