This month’s Pride Month, Adalberto Robles didn’t have to say a word – instead, he was throwing emojis.
Robles, a 34-year-old customer service representative from Phoenix, Arizona in the United States who uses his and their personal names, had a proud flag and a proud flag in place. But what they wanted was the advancement of the LGBTQ flag, the 2018 revival of the traditional rainbow flag featuring the chevron logo with black, purple, pink, white and cloud stripes.
The flag was hoisted by Portland, Oregon-based producer Daniel Quasar as the head for black and brown people, as well as people known for trans trans.
– danielquasar (@danielquasar) June 5, 2021
Robles believes that emoji options should be inclusive, and that the flag is moving forward. To that end, Robles made a Change.org request to add an emoji, which has retained nearly 200 signatures to date.
Robles is not the only one who feels dissatisfied with the slate available more than 3,500 emoji options under Unicode Standard. Appendices 217 are due to be released throughout the year 2021 under the release of Emoji 13.1, including bearded women and couples with different skin tones.
But even emoji uses it all the time (statistics from Emojipedia estimate that more than one in five tweets you have emoji) many people and businesses feel that modern elections do not adequately represent their experiences.
2019 research Of the 1,000 people created by Adobe software they found that 76% of emoji users wished they had more emojis to use, and 73% of emoji users wished they had more ways to change their appearance.
Our emojis, alone
Emojis do not go beyond digital summaries on what we hear – they also represent us, at the very core.
“Emojis are a powerful tool for computer communication,” Isaac Tourgeman, a neuropsychologist and professor of psychology at Albizu University in Doral, Florida, told Al Jazeera. “It enhances the movement and the tone.”
Tourgeman adds that, in the digital world, emojis have become bold in body language, tone and facial expressions.
Using Emoji can also have a real meaning: Research has found that the use of emojis in communication can end change the doctor-patient communication and can also serve as a tool in diagnosing other mental illnesses. This may be why it is so important for users to see for themselves and their experiences are represented in their emoji choices.
Emojis, too, have become the shortcut to our world-wide approach to language – which can lead to social unrest.
For example, such as reported by Fast Company, The Unicode Consortium received a number of suggestions for a knee-jerk emoji to represent the Black Lives Matter performances taking place in the US.
But the request was denied, possibly because it was too broad and created a confusion over the “reason” for bowing.
Was it a contradictory, restless, or religious emoji or culture? This identity – how emoji can be unique and global – can make it difficult for emoji to be finally accepted.
Strong advertising signs
Emojis have also become big business. The Unicode Consortium is a non-profit organization dedicated to creating and maintaining “mid-range software”, which includes Unicode Standard which holds a “script display on all aspects of modern software”.
This Unicode Standard is why a smiley face looks the same on all devices and in all countries – with the Unicode Emoji Subcommittee monitoring ideas and it adds emojis slowly.
The mail program is available to the general public, and people are encouraged to send in comments.
People can make requests with groups to improve their emoji and provide evidence that the emoji has an audience, like Robles.
This democratic approach has its challenges, however.
In 2020, the emoji truck was temporarily approved by the Unicode Consortium – after which the emoji sub-committee realized that Ford Motor Company had hired an advertising company to make the request.
Although this practice is permissible, the Unicode Consortium likes to explain. Some companies – such as Butterball and Taco Bell – have submitted their requests, with Taco Bell listing the desired taco emoji but Turkey’s thanks for the plate of emoji is endless.
Nonprofits have also intervened. The Kurds House, a non-profit Kurdish platform – currently asking for the Kurdistan emoji flag, and its request to sign more than 90,000 signatures.
The way emojis take on more and more in everyday life – Adobe research has found that more than 60 percent of people use emojis in the workplace – perhaps the characters will continue to dominate our lives.
“I don’t see emojis as a habit, I see them changing our language,” Dan Levine, a marketing expert, told Al Jazeera. “The world is full of little traditions.”
Levine also believes that the language will continue to change in the next decade, and this could open the door to new emoji elections.
But some emphasize that emojis are not a new way of communicating.
“Look at the paintings in the caves,” Tourgeman said. “In many ways, photography and form have become our first means of communication. We are visible, and history tends to repeat itself.”