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Our emoji, ourselves: why activists want to add new icons | Art Culture News

During Pride Month this year, Adalberto Robles was not overwhelmed-on the contrary, what they were overwhelmed was the emoji.

Robles, 34, is a customer service representative from Phoenix, Arizona, USA. He uses his/he ​​and their/their pronouns at the same time. He provides the pride flag and cross-prudence flag emoticons. But what they want is the progressive LGBTQ pride flag, the traditional rainbow pride flag redesigned in 2018, with a black, brown, pink, white and blue striped chevron symbol.

This flag was designed by designer Daniel Quasar of Portland, Oregon, to pay tribute to blacks and browns and people who identify with transgender.

Robles believes that the emoji options should be more inclusive, and the progress indicator will be a step in this direction. To this end, Robles created a Change.org petition to add emojis, and has received nearly 200 signatures so far.

Robles is not the only one who is dissatisfied with the current situation More than 3,500 emoji options under the Unicode standardUnder Emoji 13.1, another 217 will be released in 2021, including a woman with a beard and a couple of different skin tones.

However, although the use of emoji is at the highest level in history (statistics from Emojipedia estimate that more than one-fifth of tweets Contains emoji) Many people and companies still feel that current choices cannot adequately represent their life experiences.

A 2019 Polls A survey of 1,000 people by software company Adob​​e found that 76% of emoji users want more emojis to use, and 73% of emoji users want more customization options to reflect their personal image.

Our emoji, ourselves

Emojis are not just a digital shorthand for our emotional state-they also represent our core.

“Emoji are a powerful tool in computer-mediated communication,” Isaac Tucciman, a neuropsychologist and psychology professor at Albizu University in Doral, Florida, told Al Jazeera. “It adds context and tone.”

Tourgeman added that in the digital world, emojis have become a powerful substitute for body language, tone of voice, and facial expressions.

The use of emoji may also have an impact on the real world: research has found that using emoji in interactions can Improve doctor-patient communication It can even be used as a tool to assess certain mental health disorders. This may be why it is more important for users to see themselves and their experience in the emoji options.

Research shows that emojis are not just a digital shorthand for our emotional state, but also have practical uses [File: Eugene Tanner/AP Photo]

Emojis have also become a shortcut to transcend language in our global society-this can lead to cultural confusion.

For example, as Fast Company Report, The Unicode Consortium has received a number of proposals for emojis for people on one knee to represent Black Lives Matter protests across the United States.

But the proposal was rejected, probably because it was too broad and caused confusion about the “reasons” for kneeling.

Is it an emoji used for protest, rest, or religious or cultural customs? This particularity—how emoji can be both single and universal—may be a challenge for the proposed emoji to obtain final approval.

Powerful marketing symbol

Emojis have also become big business. Unicode Consortium is a non-profit organization dedicated to the development and maintenance of “software internalization standards”, including the Unicode standard that deals with “text representation in all modern software products.”

This Unicode standard is why smiley faces look the same on all devices and all countries-and a Unicode Emoji Subcommittee Review proposal And scroll to add emoji.

In 2015, Apple added more than 300 new emojis, including depictions of people of different skin tones and same-sex parents and their children [File: AP Photo]

Proposal templates are open to the public and people are encouraged to send proposals.

Individuals can then also create petitions and groups to further promote their emojis and prove that potential emojis have audiences, such as Robles.

However, this democratic process is not without challenges.

In 2020, the Unicode Consortium temporarily approved a pickup truck emoji-then the Emoji Subcommittee learned that Ford Motor Company had hired a marketing company to create the proposal.

Although this practice is allowed, the Unicode Consortium prefers to be public. Other companies—such as Butterball and Taco Bell—have launched their own petitions. Taco Bell scores the taco emoji they want, but Thanksgiving turkey is still elusive on the plate emoji.

Non-profit organizations have also joined this trend. Kurdish House, a non-profit platform representing Kurds, is currently petitioning Kurdistan emoji, and its petition has received more than 90,000 signatures.

Stay here

With the increasing adoption of emojis in our daily lives — an Adobe survey found that more than 60% of people use emojis in work environments — these roles are likely to continue to be the core of our lives.

“I don’t think emojis are a trend, I think they are really developing our language,” Dan Levine, a business trends expert, told Al Jazeera. “The world has become less formal.”

Levine also believes that this language will continue to change in the next ten years, which may open the floodgates for new emoji options.

But others emphasized that emojis are not a new way of communication.

“Look at the cave picture,” Tourgeman pointed out. “In many ways, painting and characters have always been our primary means of communication. We are visual animals, and history often repeats itself.”



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