Things You Never Knew About Emojis

From their international origins to the latest literary “emojification” to Emojot’ innovative Emotion Sensors®, learn more about these quirky characters’ past, present, and future.

Your friend sends you a hilarious text, and you respond with the “crying laughing” emoji. You text your significant other a “winky face.” Your mom sends you a Thanksgiving message with a heart and a tiny turkey. These are probably at least somewhat familiar experiences. According to a recent report in WIRED magazine, “fully 92 percent of all people online use emoji now, and one-third of them do so daily.” WIRED even goes so far as to suggest that the rise of emoji represents “the birth of a new type of language.” More than likely, these little graphics and symbols have changed the way you communicate with friends, loved ones, coworkers, and virtually everyone else. However, despite their ubiquity, chances are, you don’t actually know very much about the characters you use.

At Emojot, we’re revolutionizing the worlds of business, human resources, and entertainment, all with emojis, so we know quite a bit about them. We love sharing our infectious enthusiasm for emojis with our clients and showing them these symbols’ hidden power. In the following blog, we describe the top five things you never knew about emojis.

1. These quirky characters hail from Japan.

While they are immensely popular around the globe, emojis were originally created in Japan. In fact, the word “emoji” is a combination of the Japanese words for “character” and “picture.” As Digital Trends explains, Shigetaka Kurita was the “designer of the first emojis for cellphones…[who] first created emoji while he was a member of a team that, at that time, was preparing for the debut of…the world’s first mobile Internet system.” The advent of emojis on this project was back in “February 1999,” making them nearly two decades old.

Digital Trends notes that Kurita’s emojis were “inspired by manga, Chinese characters, and street signs.” His goal was “to convey emotions and thoughts without having the symbols polarize those who would see them.” Combining his passion for particular symbols with his desire to communicate universal concepts, Kurita designed the original “176 12 x 12 [pixel]” images that would eventually be the foundation for emoji everywhere.” These now-renowned characters flew from Kurita’s imagination to digital screens all over the world.

While they are globally beloved, distinctive traces of Japanese culture can still be found in emojis. As Buzzfeed points out, for example, the man bending his head down with triangles over his hair “is not thinking – he is bowing,” a common Japanese custom. Buzzfeed also explains that the hands coming together with golden rays around them “are not praying. They are pressed together in a Japanese gesture of apology.”

The international team at Emojot is eternally grateful to Kurita and the Japanese designers who made emojis a reality. Recognizing the history of these remarkable characters helps us appreciate their value even more.

2.  They can be educational.

That’s right: thousands of today’s students are actually learning from emojis. Many educators have become wise to the fact that emojis are an integral part of today’s language, especially amongst youth, so they’ve begun incorporating them into their instruction.

For example, in her piece for Edutopia, fifth grade teacher, Marissa King, encourages her colleagues to “use kids’ expertise with emojis to help them analyze texts more effectively.” She points out that, in addition to being “more mainstream than ever,” emojis can be pedagogically powerful: “the way students seamlessly navigate emoji usage is similar to critical reading skills we practice in class.” By parsing out the true meaning of these fun symbols and encouraging her students to interpret why certain characters have specific contextual definitions, King manages to successfully engage, entertain, and educate her students.

Even beyond the typical classroom setting, emojis are becoming a part of the way people (and especially children) learn about the world. General Electric has an entire website devoted to “Emoji Science,” which represents the Periodic Table of Elements with these classic characters and links to a variety of emoji-enhanced videos about them. One of the most popular videos on the site is Bill Nye the Science Guy’s explanation of climate change using emojis.
How do you feel about the science behind emojis? [emojot type = “button” size=”small” key=”59b64d52de4358b90f039047″ id=”59b64d50a430d8b91b542843_5a2e513d9c861998130f0920″]

The fact that emojis are becoming an essential aspect of learning signifies their power to communicate and lasting place in our culture. The next generation will be brought up with and taught by these unique symbols.

3. Emojis have surprisingly detailed graphics.

Since you’re likely choosing them from a handheld digital screen, emojis may appear to be simple blocks of color. However, many of them are actually quite intricate, reflecting the thought, effort, and emotion that goes into their design. For instance, Buzzfeed notes that the open book character has real words on its pages – the script “from Apple’s ‘Think Different’ ad” – and the small pink “church [emoji]… has stained-glass windows.” Next time you send out an emoji-filled text, you might take a second to look at the finer points of the symbols you select.

4.  Emojification is trending.

As WIRED magazine posits, emojis are becoming a digital dialect all their own. For example, as Smithsonian reports, a data engineer named Fred Benenson recently created an entirely emoji version of the classic novel, Moby Dick. In a similar vein, the Wall Street Journal has a tool to translate its headlines into emojis. One of the latest iPhone operating system updates even includes a feature that suggests emojis to replace the words you type for easier, more graphical text communication. Given the current direction emojis are headed, you might do well to become fluent in these up-and-coming characters.

5. You can use emojis to learn more about your customers, employees, and audiences.

Surveys have been used to gather valuable information for decades, but often, the dry data they collect doesn’t do anyone much good. That’s why Emojot has revolutionized surveys into Emotion Sensors®.

Customers, employees, and audiences respond in emoji form to these questionnaires in order to share their emotions and opinions. Emojot’s system uses the unique power of emojis to reveal how people feel rather than just what they think about a given product, situation, or program. These insights are often much more valuable and actionable. After all, important decisions are often driven by passion rather than logic. In addition, the whimsical fun of an Emotion Sensor® is much more likely to capture potential participants’ attention and engage them in the questionnaire.

If you own a business, Emojot’s Voice of Customer Emotion Sensors® can help you build rapport with and better understand clients’ reactions to your company. Human Resources departments can also leverage vital information gained from Voice of Employee Emotion Sensors® to improve workforce productivity and maintain team members’ satisfaction. In addition, entertainment companies can boost their ratings, foster interaction amongst their viewers, and polish their programs with Voice of Audience Emotion Sensors®.
How do you feel about using emojis to learn about your customers/employees/audiences? [emojot type = “button” size=”small” key=”59b64d52de4358b90f039047″ id=”59b64d50a430d8b91b542843_5a2e51551a9490980d6ada5b”]

Make the Most of Modern Emojis with Emojot

Would you like to discover more about this new digital discourse? Are you interested in enhancing your operations with the aid of emojis? Do you want to experience everything Emojot Emotion Sensor® have to offer? Schedule a demo today!

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