Emoji’s [えもじ] are a Japanese phenomenon that popped up in instant messenger services in around the early 2000’s. Faces and symbols, tiny pictures to get most milage out of every 147character tweet.
( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)
Do you remember a time when there was an art to interpreting the random collection of punctuation at the end of every text message. Back before phone contracts when every character had to count. From out of the brackets a smile would emerge or some other extreme emotion would be conveyed, depending on what type of day your textual collocutor was having. Sometimes it was easier than understanding the skipped vowels and unpredictable consonants that comprised early text speak. :’-(
Over the past few the punctuation emoticons disappeared and in their place cartoon pictures (or emojis) emerged. Invented by, Japanese researcher, Shigetaka Kurita the small icons of meaning became wrapped up in standard Unicode for messaging. Soon these smiles were spreading everywhere. With little warning and even less notice as to where they came from apart from a few pictoral clues. There are some cultural features that stand as testament to their Japanese ancestry, that was otherwise lost in translation. These include a white flower, recognisable to every school child in Japan as a symbol for “excellent work”( i.e. read as “gold star”).
Standardising is a practice that happens our communications become more and more far reaching. We need a benchmark, a point of reference that is as universal to a school child in Japan or a graphic designer in South London. But there is the problem with standardisation. It makes everything, well… standard. If it made things more interesting it would be called exceptionalisation.
The only grudge I have with an emoji is the lack of character. The chance to finesse and perfect. With a standard messaging form comes the danger that we loose any real expression.
To reflect here are a selection of some of the word’s finest depictions of emotion – standardised.
:-D Send us a message @JerrardWayne