Have you ever felt that your text message on social media platform either with your friend or family got misunderstood? If yes, then you have used those little yellow graphics with different expressions which clarifies the feeling behind the written text. Yes, I’m talking about those emoji. The little global pop stars of digital communication. But, have you ever wondered how emoticons originated, what is the technology behind those simple facial expression graphics and what led to their widespread popularity?

What are Emoji ?                                                         

Emoji are small digital image or icon that we use in daily online conversation to express our emotions.  At present, more than 90% of social networking sites communicate through symbols and more than 6 billion emojis are exchanged every day.  The word “Emoji” is derived from Japanese word for picture (E) and the word for emotion (Moji). Emojis are the descendents of the emoticon.  In 1982 emoticon (Emotion Icon) were used by scientists to avoid digital miscommunication.  These icons expressed how a sender is feeling and what the context of message is. For example, you could add smile, blush, laugh, extreme laugh symbols according to your requirement.

 It is inserted from a menu of visual expression or created by a sequence of keyboard symbols .

The Beginning of Emoticons

Emojis took birth from emoticons which were made with punctuation marks. The first emoticons were published in an issue of Puck magazine in 1881. The magazine published four “faces”-conveying joy, melancholy, indifference and astonishment-and called the “typographical art.”

Scott Fahlman is known as the father of smiley emoticon :-). It became difficult for people to tell the difference between the jokes and the serious posts on a Mellon University digital message board. Faculty Member Scott Fahlman came up with a solution, he told people to add symbol 🙂 for humorous post and the symbol 🙁 for the serious ones, this trend spreads like fire. In his announcement about his proposal, he even specified readers to ‘read it sideways.’

Emojis were first developed in Japan

Emojis were created in 1998 by Shigetaka Kurita, an engineer at the Japanese mobile company, NTT Docomo. The company was working on a project to make communication possible through icons for their coustomers. Kurita ended up creating the first set of 176 icons he called emoji, each emoji was designed on a 12×12 pixel grid. They developed emojis through graphic designing and encoded them with specific Unicode into the system.  The ISO 15924 script code for emoji is Zsye. They communicate the nuances of mood and emotions between people who cannot see each other. 

Evolution of Emoji

  • In 2003 Microsoft introduces 30 new emoticons to MSN messenger.
  • In 2008 Google’s set of 79 animated emoji debuted in G-mail.
  • In 2008 Apple introduces their own emojis, but by default only for Softbank users in Japan.
  • In 2009, two apple engineers – Yasuo Kida and Peter Edberg – submit an official proposal to Unicode for the adoption of 625 emoji character.
  • In 2010 Unicode officially adopts emoji.
  • In 2011, a year later Apple finally gives iOS users easy access to emoji by adding an emoji keyboard to iOS 5.

Most of you have read this saying, “ Texting is a brilliant way to miscommunicate how you feel, and misinterpret what other people mean.” So, to avoid this emojis came to life. Just like 70% of the meaning of our oral conversation is done through non- verbal cues.  Similarly, in text conversations, emojis add personality and generate empathy among the sender and receiver for effective online communication.

Fill your digital communication with emotions and avoid miscommunication.


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