In just two decades, emoji has become ‘the fastest growing language in history’. But are there more complex implications to their popularity? With more than 92% of internet users now using emojis, and billions used every day, do the simple digital pictograms have wider implications for society, relationships and even the way we're hardwired?
Yes, emojis have transformed human relationships.
Emojis have changed the way that people perceive and respond to each other.
Emojis define and restrict emotional range in communication
There are a limited number of emojis. Therefore, as people increasingly use them to express emotions, their emotional range becomes defined (and restricted) by available emojis.
The growth in emoji use is part of the much more transformative digital revolution. Emojis are impactful insofar as they enhance (or diminish) existing forms of communication. However, they have no revolutionary impact in and of themselves.
Emojis are a byproduct of the Digital Revolution's efficiency
In this day and age, efficiency is seemingly valued above all else. The emoji came about as a quick means to expressing oneself emotionally through text messaging. It enhances digital conversation, but is only a byproduct of rapidly-evolving communication technology.
Emojis are a subsidiary of mainstream communication and language
Emojis enhance (or diminish) existing forms of communication, which they exist within. They are unable to exist without the structure or depth of another language and cannot be seen as independent from "real" languages.
Emojis are reminiscent of archaic ancient hieroglyphics and their use
Since ancient times, humans have always used images to communicate. The use of such symbols to portray objects and even ideas has been around for tens of thousands of years. Emojis are just the latest iteration of this historic practice. But that does not mean that they are essential; they are a modern manifestation of a written practice which is outdated and does not express things as clearly as a true written language does.
Yes, emojis have far-reaching social implications.
Emojis are now so ingrained in our communication, that they affect everything from the governance of society to global business strategies.
Emojis now influence our courts.
The use of emojis in online messages as evidence for intent, in otherwise ambiguous cases has risen dramatically in recent years. Emojis have now been the critical piece of proof in hundreds of legal cases.
Emojis have established a new axis of power within the Unicode Consortium
Emojis are made 'official' by being established within the Unicode. This is decided by the Unicode Consortium, a powerful committee made up of a small group of the world's most powerful tech companies.