OPINION COLUMNS

Emoji worth 1000 words

By Joy Burgess-Carrico | Published Saturday, December 8, 2018
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Do you have an iPhone? Yes? Keep reading.

Did you download the latest update?

Joy Burgess-Carrico

Yes? Keep reading.

You have 158 new emoji.

Apple updated its operating system Oct. 30. Once you downloaded it, you vastly improved your ability to express yourself via small pictures.

I’m sure other things were updated as well, but who cares about those?

I’m not a heavy user of emoji (or emojis – both are acceptable), so it took me a month to notice the new ones.

Some of them are baffling.

Emoji are not just made willy-nilly at the whim of anyone. A non-profit called the Unicode Consortium decides which emoji will be added. Anyone can submit a proposal, which is a complex process. If the new emoji is approved, the various companies (Apple, Microsoft, Android, etc.) take the guidelines and design an emoji to add to the pile of tiny cartoons generally available to the communicating public.

Some of the new ones available on the iPhone are (images are from the website emojipedia.org):

hearts“Smiling Face With Three Hearts” seems like a good place to begin. This is added to the already available “Smiling Face With Heart Eyes” and “Face Blowing a Kiss.” Why was the new 3-hearted smiley face needed?

Apparently, it indicates someone being “in love” whereas heart eyes means “I love you” or “I love this.” This level of distinction is needed to make one’s intentions clear.

02 hot coldWe now have a hot face and a cold face.

03 pleadingI did not know what this face meant until I looked it up. “Face with worried look at weird bubble-eyes” was my interpretation. What we are looking at is called “Pleading Face.” Those are supposed to be puppy dog eyes. Good to know.

We now have redheads. This has apparently been a big hole in the emoji world. But the redhead options are all neutral expressions with various skin tones. So there’s everything from light to very dark skin-toned redheads.

Redhead

Some actual redheads are upset because they thought the red-headed option should be added to all the people choices that have skin-tone choices.

Red head shrugThey did the same thing with completely bald, curly-haired and white-haired people. So if you’re a redhead, bald, curly-haired, or white-haired, and you want to shrug via emoji, you have to pick which is more vital to your message, the shrug or the accurate hair representation. (I cheated in my graphic. You cannot layer emoji in text messages.)

Face with uneven eyes and wavy mouth 1f974 copyThis guy was pointed out to me as universally useful. I thought it was someone saying, “Huh?” It is called “Face With Uneven Eyes and Wavy Mouth.” Helpful.

Emojipedia.org suggested it might be used to show signs of being tired and emotional: that is, drunk. It’s a drunk face.

Leg 1f9b5 copyThere is now a disembodied leg in various skin tones. I suppose this is useful if you want to text someone that you had your leg amputated, or had some very specific leg-related information to convey.

Microbe 1f9a0 copyThis is a “Microbe.” It’s meant to represent any generic single-celled organism. Useful for microbiologists sharing info via text or Twitter, although they might want to get more specific. I don’t think E. coli looks like this.

List of emoji long
There are many other new emoji to choose from. At your disposal you have a ball of yarn, a puzzle piece, a safety pin, a basket with linens in it, a softball (you know because it’s yellow), a firecracker, which I thought was a stick of dynamite, bricks and many other things all at your fingertips.

While on the subject, I took the opportunity to clear up a question that has been a subject of debate in the newsroom for quite some time.

Person with folded hands 1f64f copyThis symbol is often used to indicate praying hands, especially on Facebook. In the newsroom there are those who think it depicts a high five. So, is it a prayer hands emoji or a high five emoji? The answer: sure. It is called “Person With Folded Hands” and can mean either. It can also mean “please” or “thank you” in Japanese. So prayer hands away.

Pile of poopMy final comment is on “Pile of Poop” emoji. We all know it, it’s a very happy, smiling pile.

I have often said there needs to be an unhappy version. It makes no sense to me that the poop is all smiley.

Well, I fear it will never be. A frowning poop proposal was submitted last year and was shot down by the big wigs. They do not want a frowning poop.

They argue that it opens the floodgate to multiple poop-faced characters. After a frowning poop, then what? A poop with heart eyes? A poop making the “yum” face? Too much poop.

They might have a point. As much as I would like an angry poop emoji to express my feelings more accurately, I do not want to do so if the price is opening poop floodgates and being up to our neck in poop emojis.

I’ll find another way. The Consortium has ruled: no angry poop.

Joy Burgess-Carrico is a
News graphic artist

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