Emoji have become an ubiquitous form of communication. And like any form of language, they can have social effects. The addition of a hijab emoji has given Muslim women some inclusiveness, while the mosquito emoji is used by medical professionals to explain diseases such as malaria and zika.
The gatekeeper of the emoji world is the Unicode consortium, a non-profit organization that decides which emoji will make it onto our phones. Every year the consortium publishes a selection of new emoji. But not everyone agrees with what they approve and reject.
A new emoji tracker could help them make future decisions. Researchers from Haslam College of Business and the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, developed the system to understand which emoji the public wants to have on social media.
“Analyzing new emoji requests on social media is one way to collect ideas. Interactive real-time enables the Unicode consortium’s staff to measure demand by looking only at the results we have developed in our ranking system, ”said Yunhe Feng, co-author of the study, in a statement.
Building the tool was a complicated task. The team first used Twitter̵
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To the researchers’ surprise, many users requested emojis that had already been published by the Unicode consortium. The vast majority of these requests were made by mobile users, which researchers believe is due to the fact that they don’t have built-in emoji pickers.
The researchers geotagged the tweets to find out where the requests came from. Not surprisingly, the majority came from English-speaking countries. But people from countries like China, Japan, Brazil and Mexico also asked for new emojis in English.
Many of the inquiries came from unequal representatives, for example from people asking for a woman in a tuxedo emoji and a pregnant male emoji.
“In addition, the similarity in appearance between two different objects can also result in injustice if one of them is not available,” the researchers explain in their work. “For example, people who are reluctant to use the turtle emoji to represent the turtle believe that it is unfair to the turtle.
New technologies, recent social movements and political symbols were other common emoji requests. The public wants a Bitcoin emoji, an official # MeToo emoji (Twitter has a custom emoji for it, but the Unicode hasn’t approved one for all platforms), and a donkey that represents the Democratic Party in the same way that Republicans do Elephants can use emoji.
Currently, the most popular request is a sarcasm emoji. Other common petitions are a flamingo, a little promise – and a guillotine emoji.
You can check the demand for your most wanted emoji by visiting the call4emoji website.
Published on July 31, 2020 – 18:48 UTC