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Keep up with the latest social media terms, concepts, and trends thanks to our comprehensive glossary.
What is an emoji? How should you use an emoji? Can I add an emoji keyboard?
Emojis are more than the messaging trend of the millennials. Think more of them as simple words. These small, emotional characters from 😜 to 🎉 represent the digital world’s first language, built to add an emotional dimension to the otherwise flat text.
The word emoji derives from the kanji for ‘image’ and ‘character’ and is a contraction that can be translated roughly as ‘pictograph.’ However, you should not confuse Emoji with the word Emoticon. Emoticon refers to an emotional or facial expression typographic picture while emojis are real icons used to convey feelings, facial expressions, events, objects, and animals.
Emojis have been popular since they first appeared on Japanese cell phones in the late ’90s and have become a staple of how people communicate in the last few years. For example, the White House once released an economic analysis illustrated with an emoji. That’s how popular they are.
Emoji’s widespread use and success have led some observers to associate emoji use with the creation of a modern symbol language. Emojis are also in continuous evolution, with different emojis emerging with various symbolic meanings.
Emoji’s become too famous to ignore. The blessing of Unicode wasn’t just a way of preserving standards for the emerging emoji lexicon — it was the beginning of legitimizing emoji as a means of communication. Now officially emojis have been on their way to being a language.
There is also Emojipedia, which as part of an online information database records the history of the emoji symbols, their nature, and meanings. In 2014 Jeremy Burge, Emojipedia’s founder, created World Emoji Day.
Emojis are integrated on Apple iOS mobile devices, Apple Mac OS X PCs (as of OS X Lion), Android devices, Windows 8 and Windows 10 computers, and more.
Emoji was first launched by DoCoMo, a mobile internet service provider in Japan in the late 1990s and has since been adopted by most manufacturers of mobile operators, handheld computers, and PC operating systems.
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