What did we do before emojis were a thing? Back in the day, we could type a colon and a parentheses and the computer were automatically make it a happy face (or a sad face) and back then, it was like magic!
Then in 1998, emojis were created by Shigetaka Kurita, an engineer at the Japanese phone company, NTT Docomo. He was working on a way for customers to communicate through icons. The result was a set of 176 icons he called emoji. The name combines two Japanese words: “e” (picture) and “moji” (character)
Since they started taking off in the 2010s, emojis have pretty much evolved into characters for a new millennial language (who knew you could convey so much through tiny pictures of food?) But the predecessors of the “picture characters” we know and use excessively today are older than you’d expect.
Before emojis, there were emoticons, facial expressions made with punctuation marks. The first emoticons appeared in an issue of Puck magazine, all the way back in 1881. The magazine published four “faces”—conveying joy, melancholy, indifference, and astonishment—and called them “typographical art.”
They were first used as a way of communicating emotions online in 1982. When it became difficult for people to tell the difference between jokes and serious posts on a Carnegie Mellon University digital message board, faculty member Scott Fahlman came up with a solution: Add the symbol 🙂 to denote humorous posts, and add the symbol 🙁 to serious ones.
We were told to read emoji sideways so we would understand whether it was happy or sad! How archaic!!
So what about emojis, the little pictures that make texting so fun? Those were created in 1998 by Shigetaka Kurita, an engineer at the Japanese phone company, NTT Docomo. He was working on a way for customers to communicate through icons. The result was a set of 176 icons he called emoji. The name combines two Japanese words: “e” (picture) and “moji” (character). Kurita says that he drew inspiration for his emojis from manga, Chinese characters, and international signs for bathrooms.
As of 2017 World Emoji Day, as the social network said in an email to Social Pro Daily that more than 60 million emojis are used on Facebook each day, paling in comparison to the more than 5 billion that are used on Messenger daily. This makes the otherwise-impressive figure of 60 million emojis being sent on Facebook look rather quaint by comparison.
Now, more than 1,800 emojis exist. The best part? We no longer need to tilt our heads sideways to understand them.