A post from Shady Characters

Emoji, part 5: a trending topic

This is the fifth in a series of thirteen posts on Emoji (😂). Start at PART 1, continue to PART 6 or view ALL POSTS in the series.

So far in this series we’ve seen how emoji were created in Japan, how they made their way into the wider world, and who takes responsibility for them now they’re free to range across our screens. Aside from mentions in a few tech news outlets, however, emoji’s early life went largely unreported. The mainstream media prefers a juicier drama and, in this article, we’ll take a look at some of the stories that have seen emoji riding high — and low — in the press.

5 comments on “Emoji, part 5: a trending topic

  1. Comment posted by Bill M on

    Thanks for the fine series on the emjoi. I’ve always looked at these as a bit of non-sensical clutter although I have used a few. I never knew how, where, or when they were developed. I thought they started as a play on the ascii generated characters and expanded to living color.

    Nice work and all 5 parts are an interesting read.

    Have a Great 2019!

    1. Comment posted by Keith Houston on

      Hi Bill — thanks for the comment. I’m glad you’re enjoying the emoji articles, and there are more to come!

  2. Comment posted by Steve on

    I enjoyed the series very much. However, I will not be using any emojis to indicate how much I enjoyed it. Sorry, I’m just old school. Thanks.

    1. Comment posted by Keith Houston on

      Hi Steve — thanks for the comment! No emoji necessary.

  3. Comment posted by Garth on

    The Duke University researchers could only trace back the aubergine as stand-in for “penis” to 2011 because they were looking at the wrong language! They’ve been a phallic symbol in Japan for a long time.

    For all the media hype about emoji being a new “universal language”, this is the only example I can think of of cultural connotations making that sort of jump with an emoji; it’s more common for emoji to pick up entirely different connotations (and sometimes even denotations, in the case of the INFORMATION DESK PERSON being reinterpreted in the West as “sassy hair-flip” instead of “helpfully presenting information”).

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