Back to top

World Emoji Day?Let’s Celebrate??

World Emoji Day?Let’s Celebrate??

June 30, 2021

July 17 is World Emoji Day! While it’s a fairly recent addition to the list of holidays, the origin of emojis can actually be traced all the way back to the earliest days of civilization! Let’s explore this colorful history, discover the varied and beneficial roles of emojis in communication, and touch upon a few ways we can make July 17 a truly picture-perfect day.

The Oxford English Dictionary defines an emoji as, “A small digital image or icon used to express an idea, emotion, etc., in electronic communications.”

In other “words” ??, these are emojis!  ?????  Can you decipher the title of this book?

The emoji emerges from an impressive lineage of visual communication systems, including its ancient ancestors of cave drawings, cuneiform, and Egyptian hieroglyphs. But the more modern precursor to the emoji is the emoticon. Emoticons are punctuation marks, numbers, and letters used to express feelings. These first appeared in print in 1881.

Fast forward to 1982, and it is where we find Scott Fahlman, the computer scientist credited with inventing the first smiley emoticon. :-) He proposed this emoticon as a way to help people on a message board to determine whether the post was a joke or one that contained more serious content. The emoticons quickly grew in popularity and creativity and even included one depicting my history hero, Abraham Lincoln. ======|:-}

Finally, in 1999, we arrive at the birth of the emoji ??. Shigetaka Kurita created these fun pictographs specifically for a Japanese user base. By 2007, in order to woo Japanese customers, Apple hid an emoji keyboard in its first iPhone. North American users found this keyboard and quickly mobilized emojis as they found them not only fun and festive, but useful for improved communication in their texts and social media posts.

While these picture characters might seem frivolous, many feel they can enhance flat text by adding emotion, tone of voice, and nuance. For example, when you respond with “Ok...” the receiver might interpret that to mean frustration or impatience, but if you add ? it can change the meaning entirely!

In addition, emojis have been found to be extremely helpful for people speaking a foreign language when they can’t remember a certain word. For example, if someone is trying to communicate the word “strawberry,” and they show this emoji ? Voilà! Instant understanding! Also, emojis are just beginning to be studied in the mental health field as a tool to help individuals communicate complex emotions and feelings. Emojis really do help us to be more effective and empathetic communicators in the digital world—and that’s a great reason to celebrate! ??

In 2014, Jeremy Burge, emoji historian, created World Emoji Day to celebrate the emoji. ? He selected July 17 because the calendar emoji depicts that date in its image. Since 2014, World Emoji Day has grown exponentially. It started out as just an online event and has now expanded to festivities where people dress up as their favorite emoji, play emoji games, and feast on emoji-decorated food items.

So, on July 17, share with someone the history and benefits of the emoji, and be sure to share a smiley emoji to brighten someone’s day! ?

Barbara H.
Blue Springs South Branch

View All Blogs

Read Similar Blogs:
Holidays

Resources You May Also Like

Teachables

Print, save, and share resources for kids and students.
More Info

Blogs You May Also Like

Thanksgiving
Read More

Thanksgiving

As Thanksgiving nears, people begin to gather with their family and friends to celebrate the holidays an
Explorar la Herencia Hispana
Read More

Explorar la Herencia Hispana

Gracias por celebrar el Mes de La Herencia Hispana con la Biblioteca de Mid Continent. 
Traditions, New and Old, with the Library
Read More

Traditions, New and Old, with the Library

A few days before Thanksgiving, my cousin posted something on Facebook about
’Tis the Season in Europe Again!
Read More

’Tis the Season in Europe Again!

Every European country has holiday traditions; some you would expect, and others…not so much.

Was this page helpful? Yes No