Sometimes there are emotions that we can’t quite express with words. Emojis tackle these complex emotions and have stolen the show.
In 2015, The Oxford Dictionary named as the word of the year, much to the confusion of many linguists. This is obviously because (or “Face with tears of joy”) isn’t actually a word… it is an emoji. Many argue, however, that emoji are more than words – they can be used to communicate where words fall short.
If you have a mobile phone, odds are that you use emojis from time to time to express a simple or complex emotion. They are used to express tone, something that is often lost in written communications. Emoji allow users to create humor, sarcasm and empathy in just a couple of taps and they are taking over modern and effective communications.
The “Face with tears of joy” emoji is sometimes called the laughing emoji or the LOL emoji. It was used more than any other emoji within US communications over the last year, making up 20% of all emoji used in conversation. The second runner-up was the kiss face with 9%. The Oxford University Press, the governing body over the US and UK Oxford Dictionaries, recognized the growing popularity of the emoji and gave credit where it was due.
President of Oxford Dictionaries, Caspar Grathwohl, explained that the organization felt that their choice reflects the current status of modern communication. “Emoji are becoming an increasing rich form of communication, one that transcends linguistic borders”, he said in a statement with the press.
The first emoji emerged in the early 1990s. Shitgetaka Kurita took inspiration from the symbols used in weather forecasts, creating 180 different characters that he called “picture characters”, or “emoji” in Japanese. Western culture quickly followed suit and emoji took the world by storm.
Since then emojis have been featured just about everywhere you can imagine, including the front page of newspapers and billboards across the US. You can see the real-time tracking of emoji use on Twitter here where even the unpopular emoji have thousands of hits.
Emoji play a large role in social media, as you have seen. Facebook realized the importance of the picture characters and recently released their own version called Facebook Reactions, as well as thousands of small stickers for Facebook users.
Previous posts about emoji found on the Midphase blog imagined that the small characters were at the height of their popularity, but just when we think that emoji can’t get any more popular they win word of the year. All without actually being words. Way to go emoji, you never let us down!
What’s your favorite emoji from 2015? Let us know on Twitter @Midphase
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