As a general rule, I dislike emojis. I did not use them until about a year ago. They felt juvenile and silly and unnecessary. I still feel that, to a degree.
Emoji is a Japanese expression, which roughly means “picture world”. It was developed in 1990 by Shigetaka Kurita. While working for NTT Docomo, a Japanese telecom company, Kurita designed picture words as a feature on their pagers to make them more appealing to teens.
When Apple released the first iPhone in 2007, an emoji keyboard was embedded to grab the Japanese market. It was not intended for the U.S. users to find. However, they did and quickly figured out how to use it.
Every year new emojis (by the way, both emoji and emojis are acceptable plurals of the word), are developed. The emojipedia.org keeps tracks of all the emoji updates across all platforms and operating systems. There are over 1800 emojis and they cover much more than just emotions. Transportation, food, wild and domesticated animals, weather, bodily functions, and many more virtually speak for themselves.
Though I do not want admit it, there are a couple of emojis that I use often because the facial expression is so incredibly fitting. One is the ‘laughing so hard tears are coming out of my eyes’ face. The other one is the face that emotes a humble, sweet smile. It is a fitting complete answer to many text messages. Another few favorites are a smiling face with a blue halo, a fuchsia heart, and a cup of steaming coffee.
I distinctly remember my small cell phone of 2004-05. I believe it was a LG TU500 flip phone. I wasn’t texting much then but I did occasionally send a message that required a smile, to ensure ‘just kidding’ or ‘sorry I was a stinker’ or various other statements that require an extra amount of emotion. Early on, I actually typed out the word and put it in parenthesis, like this (smile). Then I learned that I could use a colon and one side of the parenthesis which worked beautifully for a long time.
Emojis have come a long way since then. I still dislike symbols because it feels lazy, but I have come to appreciate them.
I will, however, never understand the fascination with the poop emoji. If we are going to be that invasive, why don’t we just go ahead and make different colored poop emojis; mahogany, burnt sienna, sepia, raw sienna, burnt umber, desert sand, tumbleweed, and van dyke brown. I borrowed these color names from the Binney & Smith crayola chart.
If we are going to keep advancing emojis, we may as well go all out. It seems a bit narrow-minded to have one plain brown poop.