The surprising history of emojis

You encounter emojis on a regular basis in your 21st-century, tech-savvy lifestyle, but what is the history of emojis? They’re all over the place, and you really can’t interact with any device or platform these days without someone sending you an emoji or you sending one out yourself. This speaks to the ubiquity of this form of communication.

You spend some time on social media, and emojis are all over the place, whether it’s through Facebook’s Reactions that debuted earlier this year, or on Twitter’s platform with its extensive list of emojis.

How about text messages? Whether it’s regular SMS or popular messaging apps such as What’s App and Messenger, emojis are a popular feature of those communication mediums, too.

So how did things get this way that, in the 21st century, we’re completely crazy about and absorbed with emojis?



It didn’t happen overnight, to be sure, but emojis actually haven’t been around for very long at all, which speaks to how their popularity has spread like wildfire in recent years. If you’ve ever wondered how we got to this point where your friends and family are constantly texting you emojis in messages — and you’ve also been secretly doing it (and highly enjoying it!) — then you’re about to learn some things that may take you by surprise.

Here’s your comprehensive walkthrough on the fascinating and relatively new history of emojis in all their smiley and expressive glory.



Emojis are distinct from emoticons!

Before we get into the history of emojis in full, there needs to be a quick clarification on emojis versus emoticons, as people sometimes get the two confused or use the words interchangeably.

There’s a big difference between the two.

Emojis are real images and symbols that are rendered on your devices, whereas emoticons are simply expressions and faces created with basic characters from your keyboard.

For instance, the yellow smiley face and all its variations that’s rendered on your smartphone is an emoji.

Aaron Braund 11 July 2018

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