July 17th is World Emoji Day. Emoji, a Japanese expression, roughly means “picture word” and was developed in 1990 by Shigetaka Kurita. While working for NTT Docomo, a Japanese telecom company, Kurita design these 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 nab the Japanese market. While not intended for U.S. users to find, they did and quickly figured out how to use it.
Every year new emojis are developed. The emojipedia.org keeps track of all the emoji updates across all platforms and operating systems. There are over 1800 emojis covering much more than just emotions. From transportation, food, an assortment of wild and domesticated animals to social platforms, weather and bodily functions emojis virtually speak for themselves.
Here are 7 things to know about Emojis on their special day:
1. For the third year running, the “Face with Tears of Joy” emoji reigns supreme on social media.
It dominates on Twitter and on Facebook as the most-used on both social media platforms. This should come as no surprise to those versed in emoji; after all, this same symbol was even the Oxford Dictionary’s Word of the Year in 2015.
2. There are now 2,666 official emoji.
The Unicode Consortium, the governing body that manages the official emoji keyboard, expanded its offerings dramatically in 2017, thanks to a new array of options in skin tone, gender selection, and professions. There were just 722 as recently as 2015.
3. Emoji were first invented in 1999, but not commonly adopted until 2011.
4. Now, 5 billion emoji are sent daily on Facebook Messenger alone.
They’re also wildly popular on Twitter, which regularly makes custom emoji for events and hashtags, and Instagram, where users can hashtag with emoji. Besides the “Face with Tears of Joy,” people tend to love the red heart, the heart eyes smiley, and the kissing face smiley across platforms.
5. A group set a new record for dressing up in emoji costumes around the world.
Dedicated fans gathered in cities like Dubai, Dublin, and Moscow to set a new Guinness Record for donning emoji-face costumes simultaneously in advance of World Emoji Day and the release of The Emoji Movie on July 28, 2017.
6. Some of the most-requested emojis include an afro, a bagel and hands making a heart.
Emojipedia tracks requests by popularity for the year, with other symbols like a bald person, takeaway coffee and a chef making a kissing face also showing up as some of the most-wanted additions in 2017.
7. World Emoji Day takes place on July 17 for a totally logical reason
The “calendar” emoji — a minimized version of Apple’s iCal icon for both its desktop and mobile app — shows the default date of July 17.
What is popular in 2018 so far?
Other popular requests include more representation for people with disabilities, some previously-available smileys, and a frequent request: a version (or versions) of the family emoji with a dark skin tone. Statistics come from a range of sources including social media requests, emails, and search data. To see the full list, go to Top Emoji Requests for 2018.
What is your favorite emoji? Do you have a request for a new one?