It is sometimes said that a drawing is better than a long speech. And that, the users of the emojis understood it well. From its origins to its use in 2018, we detail the journey of the emoticon.
We see them everywhere, all the time. Whether to feed a message, relax an email, express an opinion, make rebuses or embellish our stories on social networks, we use emojis constantly. As the saying goes, sometimes a drawing is better than a long speech. Even if the latter is composed of a peach followed by an eggplant, will understand who will. Born to add nuance to written interactions, emojis are the first language created by and for the digital world. Obviously, these nice little guys have not always been so worked. They were even downright basic at birth. To find the very first trace of an emoji, or its ancestor, the emoticon, you have to go back to … 1648. We can see the father of all smileys, the famous :), in the poem To Fortune by Robert Herrick. But for the democratization of its use, we must go back to the 80s.
At the time, the emoticon still had a nose and was written with punctuation marks, like 🙂 or 🙁 It will really prevail among geeks, in the chatrooms of the 90s, to no longer The most inventive spent hours trying to create complex emoticons, like ¯_ (ツ) _ / ¯, more explicit than a simple one 😉 To discover the first emojis as such, it will take wait until 1999 and a dazzling spirit of Shigetaka Kurita, a Japanese artist. To make his site more attractive, he decided to design a fun interface to transmit information in a simple and succinct way: for example, an icon to show the weather forecast rather than spelling “cloudy”. He names his find emoji, in contraction of the words “e” for image and “moji” for character. The beginning of a new visual language, which made it possible to nuance cold messages thanks to pictorial supports. The simple message “We talk about it when I get home” will have a very different meaning if it is accompanied by a heart, for example.
A pictorial language that was popularized in the rest of the world in the mid-2000s. And if we still had to copy-paste these small images in its text to use them, as of 2011 Apple felt the vein and directly integrated these icons to his iMacs and iPhones. But will emojis take us back to the pre-alphabetic times of rock art? It is true that they transmit meaning by themselves. And then after all, the word of the year from the Oxford dictionaries of 2015 was not a word, but a pictogram. Another interesting fact, according to a Brandwatch report that analyzed our use of emojis on Twitter, we would change our habits during the year depending on current events, but also according to the time of day. In total, more than 6.4 billion emoticons were used on the social network between September 1, 2015 and September 20, 2017. As the report shows, Twitter users start using emojis in their messages as of evening fell. With a peak of emojis that moan from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. In addition, it seems that women are more fond of emojis (61%) than men (39%).
But beware of their use: depending on the country, the meaning of emoticons varies. In Latin countries for example, the sign “rock’n’roll” is used to say that someone is cuckold, while the little hand that moves means to clear in China.
Among the 1,800 emojis that already exist, some 157 newcomers will enter our keyboards next summer. Chosen by the Unicode 11.0 standard (you still need a few rules, otherwise it would be visual anarchy), we will note the possibility of choosing the gender and skin color of the superhero emojis, the arrival of a llama, a skateboard, a guy who freezes or the inclusion of new haircuts. It promises.