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! 😊
Blue Springs South Branch
A very interesting and informational blog. I learned things that I had never heard of. Well done Barbara!!! :)
From Sherryl (not verified)
Thu, 07/01/2021 - 08:09pm
What a great blog! I never knew that emojis were so interesting. I use them somewhat regularly to avoid being misunderstood while texting. They're so useful for that! I had no idea about their history, and now there's a holiday dedicated to them. Yay for World Emoji Day!
From A.J. (not verified)
Thu, 07/01/2021 - 08:47pm
This was so fun to read! I especially enjoyed the emoji riddle! Can't wait to flex my new knowledge of emojis to all my friends.
From Kayla Ramsay (not verified)
Fri, 07/02/2021 - 04:09pm
I love small snippets of history or the backstory of word origins. Great Blog!
From Becky (not verified)
Fri, 07/02/2021 - 04:11pm
Thank you for this interesting and highly informative blog. 👍
From Sara H (not verified)
Sun, 07/04/2021 - 11:49pm
A well written and informative article. I love the reason for choosing July 17th 📆
From Grace H (not verified)
Tue, 07/06/2021 - 12:28pm
From RR (not verified)
Tue, 07/06/2021 - 02:00pm
What a fantastically clever blog! 👏 I enjoyed learning about the history of emojis and gained even more appreciation for them. Thank you! 🤩
From Kristin G. (not verified)
Tue, 07/06/2021 - 02:03pm
Great blog. I appreciate emojis so much more now! Thanks to them we can communicate with each other in more nuanced ways and express difficult-to-convey emotions. Might emoji use even be therapeutic!? Not only are these symbols fun, but practical as well.
From Mary H (not verified)
Wed, 07/07/2021 - 08:17am
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