If Unicode Consortium is as powerful as they are suspected to be, they still have the best intention at heart: that of connecting the globe by empowering “digitally disadvantaged” languages and ensuring that all have the opportunity to communicate in their own language should they choose to.
In an interview with Mark Davis (co-founder and president of Unicode Consortium, and software engineer at Google) for Time, the nonprofit’s emoji selection process is quite public. And that’s not their main project anyway. According to Davis, the consortium’s founding goal is to “[standardize] digital text exchanges across different computer software in hundreds of different languages.” He noticed that systems of encoding characters in different countries were inconsistent with each other and he set out to find a way to get these systems to talk to each other. Davis’ priority is for everyone to be able to text in their own language and have their device understand it.
Their emoji process seems both democratic and strict. According to Davis, anyone can submit a new emoji idea by filling out a form. Davis explains that there is a “public review,” so others can feedback their own opinions on the emoticon. However, the process of approving an emoji is a thoughtful one, and the information on the submission form needs to explain in detail why this image is important for the emoticon language; it needs to be specific and relevant to the population. Davis is interested in giving the power to the people, it seems, and allowing them to create their own new universal language.