It all started in Japan. Just like any other Japanese invention, these little representations of various emotions have completely changed the way we communicate. Imagine sending a text message saying ‘what’ or replying to someone’s ‘hello’ without an emoji or just try finishing a chat without using a single emoji.
At some point, you will be bound to receive texts like ‘Are you ok?’, ‘Are you mad?’ or ‘You seem upset for some reason’. But, it would have never occurred to many of us that these emojis are actually a new mode of communication. In fact, many linguists describe emojis as the fastest developing language.
To spread the word
Ever noticed how tech companies keep updating their emojis? Well, it’s not just for fun. As emojis have become a major mode of communication, it is important to include all the aspects of the society.
Recently, a group of scientists have decided to initiate a campaign for a new emoticon to help spread awareness about earthquakes. These scientists point out that almost every other natural disaster has an emoji but an earthquake doesn’t. They believe emoji is that one language that can cross the boundaries and could be comprehended by anyone who has a smart phone.
They do have a point.
Earthquake is indeed a complicated natural disaster. There are no early warnings and you will have just seconds to alert people to rescue. At that point, typing a whole sentence like — ‘It’s earthquake! I’m hiding in a closet. Please help!’ wouldn’t be an ideal approach to cry for help. Hence the emoticon!
“Emoji can cross the boundaries of written language, helping communicate valuable information to people who may struggle to read a certain language… [they] help us communicate this complex threat faster to more people,” told Dr Sara McBride, who is a communications specialist with the United States Geological survey who is part of this campaign, to BBC News.
In the recent past, many inclusions have been made to the world of emojis. We have emojis to represent different races, differently-abled and many more which never got their space earlier.
In total, as per latest reports, there are 2,823 emojis in the Unicode Standard as of June 2018. This includes sequences for gender or skin tone, flags, and the components that are used to create keycap, flag, and other sequences. Of them, some may use the same appearance. For example, Person Surfing and Man Surfing look the same on most platforms.
“It is really impressive how something which seems as innocent and trivial as emoji can shatter the language barriers. It also helps deliver a message in a few words but still manages to carries out the exact emotion. Maybe, this is a digital advancement of language,” says Parvathi, who is a high school English teacher.
Also, Google has recently removed eggs from its salad bowl, sparkled up the knife and put a smile on a goat’s face to placate vegans. Such gestures direct the attention to diversity and inclusion of various sections of people in a society.
“In a fast-moving world, nobody has time to spare more than a mere glance. Emoticons grab attention in that glance. It is a great application for the marketing world,” says Rohan Talari, MBA student.
Today, face-to-face conversations have dwindled down and digital conversations have become our major channels of communication. At this point, maybe, emojis give us a chance to bring that nuance back.