It would be forgivable to wake up today (Monday 17th July) and not realise its significance, but today is officially “World Emoji Day”, an international celebration of the endearing visual icons we use on text messages, emails, and our favourite social media channels each and every day.
Once upon a time the trusty emoticon – an emotion expressed using the symbols of a keyboard such as :–) – was the height of sophistication, but now the rise of the emoji has taken the phenomenon of visualising our emotions to a whole new level.
Perhaps the reason for the mind-blowing popularity of emojis is that there really is an emoji for every occasion. Hungry? Send your other half a pizza emoji. Want to portray a specific emotion? Send a smile, a frown, or any emotion in between. Want to make a big announcement? An engagement ring or a baby emoji are there for moments where words just aren’t enough. With emojis, the possibilities really are endless. For this reason, it’s really not surprising that more than 5 billion emojis are sent every day on Messenger—that’s more than 57,800 emojis every second.
Such is the popularity of these friendly pictographs, the word ‘Emoji’ has now been officially recognised, added to Oxford Dictionary as early as 2013. The same dictionary even went as far as to actually name an emoji their official Word of the Year 2015. And the winning emoji? The infamous “Face with Tears of Joy” icon we all know and love, chosen because it was “the ‘word’ that best reflected the ethos, mood, and preoccupations of 2015”.
And it seems that in the years since, that feeling hasn’t changed.
July 17th—World Emoji Day
Which brings us to World Emjoi Day. This celebration is being recognised the world over, both in the digital and the physical world. Naturally the hashtag #WorldEmojiDay is trending on Twitter—a platform on which emojis are incredibly prominent.
However, it’s not just the online world celebrating the emoji. Plans are afoot to illuminate New York’s Empire State Building yellow in homage, whilst people around the world are singing the official World Emoji Day Anthem, written and produced by YouTube star Jonathan Mann. Even London’s Royal Opera House is getting involved, presenting 20 well-known operas and ballets in emojis and hosting them online.
Despite the fact that emojis have been around since 1999—yes, really!—their rise to prominence really came in 2012 with Apple’s newest software update, iOS 6. Their integrated emoji keyboard really made them accessible to the masses, available at the touch of a button.
This begs the question then: if emojis are used every day, then why today for World Emoji Day? Well if the official worldemojiday.com website is to be believed, today is the nominated day of celebration for everyone’s favourite little icons because 17th July is the date displayed on the calendar emoji on all devices operating on the iOS and Android operating systems.
However you decide to mark World Emoji Day, there’s a million ways you can show your appreciation. You can sing the anthem, track down the world’s first book translated entirely into emojis (the classic Moby Dick, cleverly retitled ‘Emoji Dick’), or even follow in the footsteps of Miley Cyrus and permanently ink one onto your skin (yes, really!).
Whatever your chosen celebration, one thing is for sure: love them or loathe them, emjois are here to stay.