Where did Emoji come from?

Posted by FreedomNet

You may have heard that Apple has recently released its latest update for its iOS software (if you haven’t, what are you waiting for?) While a simple phone update may not seem like news to you, iOS 9.1 brings with it a number of new, some long awaited emojis that many have been anxiously looking out for (looking at you taco fans). The hype and adulation of the software release is an example of how something so simple to begin with, has emerged as a staple of how we communicate. And we have one organization to thank for that, the Unicode Consortium.

A non-profit organization, the Unicode Consortium is a multinational, multilingual group that coordinates the development of the Unicode standard. The Unicode standard is a universally agreed upon set of characters that have been identified to be the primary components of modern language today (i.e. the English alphabet, modern Mandarin characters, Arabic and Hebrew scripts that go right-to-left instead of left-to-right). Along with traditional letters that make up a language, the Consortium is the primary organization responsible for proposing universal symbols to be adopted by digital devices as a supplemental form of communication and expression. These can range from the simple ‘smiley face’ to symbols more complex in meaning like a synagogue or newspaper. These ‘emoji’ have been adopted by all major cell phone manufacturers and have since taken a life of their own with mainstream culture. For users, it not only provides a fun alternative to traditional text based language, but it can provide further context to a something written out and even save space for things like Twitter, where a user is limited to only 140 characters at a time. While an internet connection is not required to use emojis, you will certainly need one if you wish to download the latest iOS update and be able to maximize their usage.

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