It’s Emoji Day, a form of communication between machines that transcends language barriers and can be understood everywhere in the world. Every year, new elements are added to the language, expanding meanings and allowing more ideas to be translated into images.
Who determines what goes in and what doesn’t is a consortium called Unicode, responsible for establishing standards on the internet and allowing different devices to understand each other. It is because of these rules that it is possible to see the same emoji whether on Android, iPhone, PC or Mac, for example. Technology giants make up the consortium such as Apple, Facebook, Adobe, Google, Huawei, IBM, Microsoft, as well as members less related to the technology market, such as the governments of India and Bangladesh.
Before the existence of the consortium, there was no standard for coding some languages and computers often could not understand information.
As the consortium is a non-profit entity that aims to set a standard on the internet, the suggestion of new emojis is not unilateral and is open for anyone to do research, build a case and say why a specific emoji needs to be added to the list. In recent years, several journalists have reported the experience of proposing an emoji to Unicode and how it works.
Because of this, not only people can propose new pieces, but also companies. In 2019, for example, the automaker Ford sponsored the venture to suggest the pickup truck emoji, as well as the design, which resembles an F-150 in older models.
This year, Unicode is adding more diversity to the list, with the inclusion of emojis like the pregnant man, as well as the multiracial handshake. Also on the list are the emoji saluting, the happy face melting and the emoji with tears of happiness.
Although they are universal, there are regional uses for emojis. According to an empirical analysis published in the journal Online Social Networks and Media, which rated tens of millions of tweets in 30 languages, some patterns were noticed. The most used is the infamous “crying with laughter”😂. Brazilians, for example, use the red heart ❤ more than Americans, as the use is also related to the family. In the Middle East, the preferred heart is blue 💙.