It’s a word. It’s a sign. It’s a symbol.
It’s an Emoji!
You know that whimsical little character we add at the end of a text message? The tiny face, figure, flag, or food object we use to enhance the meaning and understanding of the message we are sending.
You know, so we can allow the recipient to determine to what degree of anger, happiness, or love we are feeling at that moment in time. The itty-bitty yet expressive smiley face is there to assist with our emotions and emphasize the meaning of our typed message.
I am a big fan of the emoji. I think text messages can be misunderstood, so for me, the emoji clarifies the meaning of my message.
In theory, text messages are meant to be brief, unlike its predecessors the handwritten letter and the email. Short and to the point because, frankly, I am too busy to call you so I will send you an oh-so brief, curt message. And I send them all day long.
But I love the fact that I can “dress it up” with a fun, colorful emoji.
For instance, for clarity’s sake, if I reply “sure,” I probably mean “yes,” but because I have typed this one word response, the recipient might not know my intention. Am I annoyed, as in “sure you can join me, sigh?” Or am I thrilled, as in “hot-diggety dog, I can’t wait for you to get here?” An emoji neatly and quickly solves the problem as it clarifies the intonation or voice over, if you will, of the intent of the message.
Add a little yellow smiley face who is rolling his eyes and your friend immediately knows you are annoyed. But…add a little yellow smiley face that is beaming with joy, and your friend will know you really cannot wait until she arrives.
Emojis have simplified our way of communicating. By utilizing emojis when we send a message, we are able to say – and express – more in a limited space. Not only can we be more expressive, but we can have more fun typing a message when we do not have time to make a phone call. Often the receiver will get a good chuckle or feel more loved.
Emojis were first created by Shigetaka Kurita of Japan in 1999. The word itself is derived from Japanese characters or “kanji” which ironically sound like the English word emotion: “e” – picture; “mo” – write; and “ji” – character. And isn’t that how we interpret an emoji, as an expressed emotion?
It was not until 2012 that the utilization of emojis took off overseas, appearing on Androids and iPhones as early as 2010. As of September 2021, there are 3,633 emojis in the official Unicode Standard list, but the actual look of the emoji appears much differently from the original pixelated version Kurita designed.
To this average person, it is mind-boggling to even have the brain power to create such a wide-spread phenomenon that we were only starting to use at the beginning of this decade. And look how far the emoji has come in a mere ten years!
Inquiring minds want to know, what is the most used emoji? At the end of 2021 it was reported to be the face with tears of joy followed by Hearts in second place. Who doesn’t want to express that degree of happiness or demonstrate their love via a text? Such a cool, simple way to communicate when words might not be enough.
And do not even get me started on the birthday emojis…balloons and cakes all year!
Get busy expressing yourself today. The source is at your fingertips. You are only an emoji away from making someone’s day.