The Secret To Emoji-ing Like Millennials!

From the classic eye-roll to a saree and wheelchair, emojis are the new language.

Revati Nargund

How many times have you seen a young adult rolling their eyes at someone’s lack of knowledge of texting and the frills attached to textspeak? You are either on the millennial side of the spectrum, showing off your badass emoji game or someone who is still grappling with the ever increasing set of emojis and their existence in general.

Whichever way you view the whole emoji trend, there is no escaping the plethora of facial expressions that get passed around every single day. We especially love the one with a long, toothy grimace that exactly captures our mood when we are late to work, have missed out on a deadline or are simply desiring to scream ‘Yikes, my bad’.

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These pixel sized cute icons not only decide how the reader perceives a message, it also helps to communicate better on text, sometimes. Imagine writing “I tripped on my way to work and fell flat on the face,” without a laughing-so-hard-that-tears-pour-out or a crying emoji (😂). Should the reader be amused at your slip-up or extending sympathy, it could get really confusing!

Incidentally, emoji first appeared in the mobile phone devices in Japan in the 90s, in an effort to express emotions in a plain text communication. The credit of creating the first emoji goes to Japanese artist Shigetaka Kurita. His original artwork of 176 emoji is part of a collection at Museum of Modern Art in New York.

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So, on World Emoji Day, we decided to put together a few ways that will help you up your emoji game and add personality to the written word.

What’s Your Current State of Mind?

Using a red heart (❤️) emoji for love and a yellow one (💛) for friendship is something most of us are aware of, but what do the other colours really denote? How does one get down to finding an emoji that conveys exactly what one feels? It’s not so complicated.

While most of the facial expressions are self-explanatory, there exist a few that can bewilder the best of us. With extensive representations of flora, fauna, foods travel, sports and more, one could have an entire conversation just using these emojis and no words at all. All you have to do is know your exact mood at the moment, it could be a fleeting thought or a raging emotion; knowing what you wish to convey will organically lead you to choose the right emoji.

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All we are saying is, no need to intellectualise it, the best way to play the emoji game is to go with the flow and have fun with it. This might be an inside secret, but not always does one have to make sense when it comes to these non-verbal clues. You could send a couple of cute animal emojis back-to-back, without any logic behind it and it wouldn’t really be out of place.

Will an Emoji Convey Your Expression Better?

The angry (😠) emoji can convey your frustration beautifully but the fact that you have the headspace to use an emoji further downplays the frustration you are trying to portray. So, the coin has two sides. Sending a quick heart can ease the intensity of the conversation but could also make things awkward if you don’t really know the person. Adding a birthday cake (🎂) emoji or the balloon (🎈) to a generic Happy Birthday text can amp up the emotion and make the conversation more affectionate and personal. Using correct emojis comes with a bit of practice and keeping it simple and coherent is the best way to start.

According to the World Economic Forum, “Face with tears of joy” remains the most popular emoji used on Twitter, according to emojitracker, followed by smirking face' and 'flushed face'. On Instagram, the heart is the most popular icon."

So, How much is Too Much?

It can be exhausting to be at the receiving end of excessive emojis. The best way to filter your emoji usage is to keep it minimal. Adding an emoji for every sentence or every emotion you feel is unnecessary and will slowly render your emoji usage as redundant. Policing yourself when you are texting will make you realise the real need of an emoji in a conversation and help you stop yourself from going overboard with these tiny attractive temptations.

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Emojis and Representation

From the time we got introduced to emojis, inclusiveness and representation has come a long way. In February 2019, Unicode Consortium, introduced 59 new emojis! With 171 variants for gender and skin tone, this makes a total of 230 emoji including variants. The aim this year was to make these emojis more inclusive and gender neutral, hence the inclusion of wheelchair, a guide dog, an oyster and even a flamingo. There is also a sari, an autorickshaw, a diya, a Hindu temple and more region centric iconography. Communicating through these icons in today’s world is far easier than ever before.

Food lovers were in a tizzy with new food emojis scheduled for 2019, especially the 'golden waffle with a pat of butter’ emoji.  It was created by Jay Peters and in his proposal to Unicode he quoted: “I do not know of any emoji in Unicode or any other system that is a WAFFLE. There are the similar flour-based breakfast-themed foods of PANCAKES, BAGEL, CROISSANT, and BAGUETTE BREAD, unique opportunity to create a WAFFLE emoji that represents a globally popular breakfast food. WAFFLE could also have other purposes that I detail below.” Other food emojis to join your phone's keypad are juice box, onion, garlic, falafel, ice cube, oyster, butter and mate (South American caffeine-rich drink).

“As always, some of the most vocal requests for new emojis are about representation, and this update delivers some of the most common requests. In particular the redheads and curly-haired options are likely to be popular,” CNN quoted Jeremy Burge (the creator of World Emoji Day) as saying.

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