Emoji – a small digital image or icon used to express an idea or emotion in electronic communication.
Yes, that’s right, emoji is in the dictionary. It has been since May so keep up.
Emojis have been circulating since 1998, but in the last year they have become dramatically more popular. As well as getting a shout out in the dictionary, emojis have been declared the fastest growing language in the UK by TalkTalk Mobile. The company conducted a survey that revealed 72 % of 18-25 year olds find it easier to use emojis than words to express their emotions. It’s no surprise with all the grunting teenage boys roaming the streets.
And with the ever-shortening attention spans, there’s always a quicker way to type on our phones, from predictive text to swipe-typing on Android. What could be quicker than a cute little face that expresses how you’re feeling happy, slightly sad and a bit sick, all in one?
This transition into emojis is very real. Surely it’s a good thing – for one, emojis are a universal language. By communicating across language barriers, promoting positive and charity messages can be done on a wider scale. Plus, with the 140 character limit on Twitter, an emoji can save you like ten words (leaving you room for more emojis).
Big names are setting an example by embracing it. Andy Murray told the story of his wedding through only emojis on Twitter, showing just how simple it is to mentally join the dots between the pictures. Similarly, Burger King brought out a Chicken Fries emoji keyboard to promote a new menu and in the US, Domino’s followers can order pizza through tweeting the emoji of the pizza they would like, making ordering pizza become vastly more popular, which I would have thought impossible.
My personal favourite is the cute range of clothing Primark has introduced.
You might have been one of the Star Wars fanatics that unlocked Star Wars emojis on Twitter by using hashtags associated with specific Star Wars characters and legacy themes. Or you might have just seen #C3PO trending and thought, what the hell is that?
It’s not just Twitter going crazy about emojis, on Instagram you can use emojis in hashtags to tag and search for images. Apparently, almost half of captions used these days include at least one emoji.
But it’s not just a business thing. WWF launched #EndangeredEmoji on Endangered Species Day which gave people a new way to donate, by choosing between 17 endangered animal emojis.
Likewise, Peta used emojis in the Cruelty Beyond Words campaign which raised awareness about animal cruelty in relation to fashion. The YouTube video used in the campaign features emojis to deliver the simple message, communicating it in an interesting way.
I’m sure this is just the beginning for emojis. One day this very article may be translated into emojis for the purpose of a new generation, you never know