The Internet’s favorite icon can do much more than decorate a tweet
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Much of the world’s information may now be saved in the virtual cloud, but the first data-storage systems were simple drawings like this: . Humans have been using images to communicate for millennia, since long before written language existed. Emoji, the latest example of that pictorial impulse, have become such a critical part of our hyperconnected exchanges that they are emerging as a dialect all their own.
Named by combining the Japanese words for picture (e-) and character (moji), emoji are the alphanumeric-size graphics that tweeters, texters and emailers around the world are now using thousands of times every second.
An excuse for deep self-reflection
A new Twitter bot called @emojidoll will create personalized portraits of those who tweet “me” at it. The randomized generator was programmed by former Flickr and bitly head of product Matthew Rothenberg and creates 15.6 million possible combinations of faces, shoes, hats, torsos, hands made out of handguns, balloons, and bananas. There is a distinct underutilization of the eggplant, though. For better or worse.
At best, you’re tipsy, sensei Santa with a butcher knife:
At worst, you have poop for a face:
A video promo claims the website will be a socially acceptable place to talk using pictures of salsa dancers, eggplants, or poop… depending on your mood+ READ ARTICLE
It was bound to happen sooner or later. Two British Internet personalities have announced the creation of Emojli, a social network that allows people to only communicate via emojis—the everyman’s language. (Because poop means poop, no matter where you come from.)
“Now we know what you’re thinking: This is satire. No one would actually make this thing,” says the calming Emojli video’s over-voice. After all, creators Matt Gray and Tom Scott are known for their prankster YouTube videos. But according to the video, “It’s not, and we have.”
Emojli creators say it will be up running “very soon”, and the website encourages people to sign up for a unique username now.
We've just passed 10,000 usernames reserved. Fortunately there are more than 250,000 possible two-emoji combos, so most are still available!—
Emojli (@Emojli) June 30, 2014
In the last decade, long-winded Live Journal rants compressed to slightly less rambling Facebook posts, which condensed to 140 character tweets to smiley faces to emojis depicting salsa dancing girls, eggplants, and a monkey covering his face — depending on your mood. If a concept like Emojli became the next big social network, then maybe people would stop using words altogether (cue Twilight Zone theme).
The news this week that hundreds of new emoji were on their way caused a stir online. Now, the Unicode Consortium has published a document that shows what they new icons will look like. The list (available here) shows 240 new “Miscellaneous Symbols and Pictographs” being added to version 7.0 of the Unicode Standard, which overall adds 2,834 new characters to the current standard. Some highlights include: spooky hacker, joystick, fax machine, stunner shades and, natch, the “live long and prosper” hand sign. For 15 more emoji we need right now, check out this list.
In July, 250 new Emoji—from “Dove of Peace” to “Reversed Hand With Middle Finger Extended”— will be installed in the Emojipedia for all of us to use and enjoy. But if that’s not enough for you, here’s 15 more Emoji that should really be a part of the next batch.
1. Black People
While the new Emoji installment boasts nearly every imaginable meteorological setting (“White Sun With Small Cloud,” “White Sun Behind Cloud,” “White Sun Behind Cloud With Rain,” the list goes on), we’re still waiting on some basic ethnic diversity here. Get on this, Emoji people.
Making dinner plans at Chipotle? Burrito Emoji. Hungry? Burrito Emoji. Bored at work? Burrito Emoji.
3. Sad Poop
There’s already the “Pile of Poo,” but in Emojipedia’s own words, that’s “for some reason smiling in a friendly and approachable manner”—hardly appropriate for something that gets mercilessly flushed away every day.
4. Sigmund Freud
So that you can tell your friends their ego is showing. Plus, Freud’s face in nearly every one of his portraits looks like he’s creepily staring into your unconscious — great Emoji material there.
5. Sarcastic Eye Roll
Helpful in a complex digital language in which “Ok” and “Ok.” mean two completely different things.
6. A Wrecking Ball
People come in like wrecking balls frequently, but not always with relationships: at an open bar, for example, or when someone leaves their Seamless account logged-in on your computer.
Beyoncé may have an Emoji interpretation of her song “Drunk in Love,” but an Emoji of Beyoncé herself would kill two birds with one stone: a way to express that you’re feeling like a queen, and also Emoji #1 (that much-needed racial diversity).
8. A Flying Pig
So that when someone asks you to hang out, to go on a date or to help move their furniture, you can reply with, “when pigs fly.”
9. White Wine
Not everyone likes red wine.
10. Fork in Eye
It’d be much cuter in Emoji form.
11. Unimpressed McKayla Maroney
For when you get an A- on a paper, or less than 100 likes on your profile picture—or when you land on your tailbone during the Olympics vault finals and get a silver medal.
12. Talk to the Hand
For those people who haven’t yet discovered that you can block someone’s messages on iPhone.
13. Grumpy Cat
When your friends want to go to Sunday brunch at 10 a.m. or stand you up for dinner, let grumpy cat do the texting.
14. Aziz Ansari
This way, Emojipedia could trash their stereotypically South Asian Emoji—Aziz Ansari is Indian, but there’s no turban on his head.
15. Foot in Mouth
The perfect morning follow-up to your texts from last night.
Plus 10 other useful Emoji (or so we think)
How do you tell your friends they’re being annoying over text? If words (or the ambiguous, smiling turd Emoji) aren’t getting your point across, you can wait until July, when 250 new Emoji arrive — including a middle finger icon.
The new characters are a part of an update of Unicode, the standards that regulate how text appears across platforms, but it’s up to the programmers behind iOS and Android to adopt the new standards with software updates.
While we already know what the middle finger Emoji will look like, here are our guesses for what the 10 most useful new Emojis will be — judging by their descriptions alone.
Rolled-Up Newspaper: To tell your colleagues that the viral video they sent you is old news.
Linked Paperclips: An international SOS symbol for “Help, I’m bored at work and passing the time by linking paperclips at my desk!”
Ballot Box With Bold Check: Didn’t you hear? “I Voted” stickers are so 2012.
Oil Drum: For debating the country’s reliance on fossil fuels during your free time.
Solid Quilt Square Ornament: To wordlessly remind your quilting group of your next meeting.
Black Droplet: For when you want to informally poll your neighbors about whether they think acid rain is to blame for your struggling garden.
Fax Icon: For when you’re mourning the loss of outdated technology and need a quick way to express your sadness to others.
Spider Web: The easiest approach to telling your girlfriend that you had a run-in with some strange arachnids and are actually Spider-Man now.
Man In Business Suit Levitating: To tell someone in HR that the new company wellness program is really showing you the way to enlightenment.
Black Skull And Crossbones: A succinct, easily understood way to summon pals to a Pirates of the Caribbean marathon on short notice.
If you can think of something more important than adding little cartoon icons to your text messages, I'd like to hear it.+ READ ARTICLE
Watch out for Melisandre+ READ ARTICLE
The swashbuckling, death-filled, sex-obsessed TV show Game of Thrones is returning on April 16, and the new season is just as dramatic as the last. But wasn’t that plot too complicated to remember? Enter Game of Phones.
This convenient video recaps all of season three in just over one minute and thirty seconds using the universal language of our time: emoji. What’s so impressive about this feat of TV-recapping art is that the emoji needed to tell the story aren’t even very complex.
Each of the show’s dynastic families are represented by their patron animal, and as the various family members kick the bucket, their faces are replaced by emoji skulls. There are a lot of skulls—this is Game of Thrones, after all.
Of particular note is the pitch-perfect interpretation of Melisandre and retelling of the Red Wedding. Emoji spoiler warning.
This has taken way too long
Apple’s emoji language has left a lot to be desired. Namely, racially diverse depictions of people who aren’t complete stereotypes:
There are 63 different animals but zero black emojis. Other than salsa dancing Latinas and turban wearing South East Asians, faces, families and even hand gestures have always, well, looked like this:
And that’s just a rough sampling.
Emojis have infiltrated our modern lexicon. Some advertisers have even exclusively used the language to reach a millennial audience in commercials. And now, finally, after years of people petitioning, tweeting, and begging for a racially diverse representation, Apple is making an “effort to update the standard.” An Apple VP emailed an MTV blogger who asked Tim Cook what the deal was:
“Tim forwarded your email to me. We agree with you. Our emoji characters are based on the Unicode standard, which is necessary for them to be displayed properly across many platforms. There needs to be more diversity in the emoji character set, and we have been working closely with the Unicode Consortium in an effort to update the standard.”
Diverse emojis were indisputably the most egregious absence in the the pictorial language. But as long as Apple is updating selection, here are a few other things we’d like to see:
- A menorah. Or really any religious symbol outside of Christianity. (No offense Santa.)
- Men dancing. They like to salsa, too!
- More food. Tacos, bacon, for the love of God some CHEESE.
- Beyonce’s face with a crown on top
- A mustache. Or if the hipsters petition effectively, a monocle .
- A big middle finger, because come on Apple. It really shouldn’t have taken this long.