using emoji: a quick how-to guide

I’m starting to think emoji are taking over the planet.

thought emoji NEWIn case you’re wondering, emoji are those tiny pictures of people, places, and things—smiley faces, sushi, syringes, shit, snowboarders—that can take the place of words altogether. The word emoji is a combination of two Japanese words: e (picture) and moji (character).

Emoji are a language everyone can understand. Here’s Bill Nye the Science Guy using emoji to explain climate change in 111-seconds:

Pizza emoji NEWLike pepperoni, emoji can be sprinkled lightly to soften the impact of text messages and social media posts that might otherwise be misunderstood by your reader.

First developed by a team of Japanese software engineers in the late 1990s, emoji are cute and a bit childish, but they’re also fun and convenient.

When I’m wishing someone a happy birthday on Facebook, for example, I might post this:

bday emoji NEWSo much easier and fun than the same-old, same-old. Not to mention, it’s faster than typing “happy birthday” out on a keyboard, which is so 2011.

Emoji are addictive once you start using them…

syringe emoji NEWSome believe the brilliant writer U.S. President Abraham Lincoln was the first to use an emoticon, emoji’s first cousin, in a draft of a speech in 1862. Emoticons use type-face to express emotions, like this 😉  Lincoln NEW

Looking at the big picture behind these cute little images, emoji have become the first widely adopted, universal pictorial language, a global lingua franca. I’m not the only one to think so.

My biggest peeve about emoji—their lack of diversity—has been solved with the latest upgrade of Apple’s IOS (operating system). You can now hold your finger down on many of your favorite emoji to see a range of pigmentation. father-christmas-with-black-skin-apple-new-2015Chances are good that your smartphone has emoji tucked inside it.

On your iPhone’s “Settings,” you can go to “General” then “Keyboards” and select “Emoji” from the languages list.

My most-used emoji is the embarrassed or “flushed face” guy.

flush face emoji NEWIf I’m a little worried or uncertain about something, or if I just want to say, “Whoops!” then Mr. Flush-Face is my go-to. Plus, he’s super cute.

My number 2 most-used emoji actually is Number 2: poo, which has been sanitized to look like a smiling swirl of chocolate soft-serve ice cream. No flies on this swirly poo:

poo emoji NEW I also love what I call the “pink lady throwing shade,” aka Information Desk Person. She’s keeping it real, and telling it like it is. Snap!

information-desk-personDo you use emoji, or do you think they’re dumbing-down our language?