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🏟 The history of the emoji 🏟

Updated: Aug 10, 2020

🏟 The history of the emoji 🏟 - By Felicia

Emojis. It’s unsurprisingly hard to find a person who’s never heard of them, in this mostly digital world. They aren’t just a trend that will pass and go in less than a year. Think of them more as the New Language of Generation Z! But emojis had to start somewhere, though. Before emojis, there were emoticons like :-} and ;). They were mainly used to communicate emotions through emails. But what about emojis, you ask? In 1998, Shigetaka Kurita, an engineer at the Japanese phone company, NTT Docomo, came up with a way for customers to communicate through cute and efficient icons he called emoji, which in Japanese meant “e” (picture) and “moji” (character). There were characters to show the weather (sun, clouds, umbrella, snowman), traffic (car, tram, airplane, ship), technology (landline, cell phone, TV, GameBoy), and all the phases of the moon. But those characters weren’t purely informational: For the first time, emoji offered a way to add emotional subtext to a message. “I understand” might sound cold or passive on its own, but add ❤️ and the message would offer a sense of warmth and sympathy.

In my opinion, emojis are really cool add-ons that you can add to the beginning, middle, or end of a text message. In my opinion, emojis are used mainly for spicing up texts. You can use different emojis to convey different things, such as 😂 or 🤣 for laughing, 😢 or 😭 for sad, and 🤬 or 😤 for angry. Sometimes, though, emojis can be used to say entirely different things, or even entire stories! Like, 📛 might pass for a tulip, but it’s actually a name tag! 🆖 might seem like a mystery, but it actually stands for “no good”! And 🖲 means a trackball. Have you ever heard of an interrobang‽ Have you ever heard of 𝍃 emoji either? An asterism ⁂? 🅽☉₩, around 2000 emojis exist. The best part? There’s an emoji for everyone.

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