Apple introduced an array of culturally divers emojis last week and although the concept may seem new, it has in fact been around for years. Here is a brief timeline on how emojis became apart of our daily conversations.
Whether you love them or hate them, it appears emojis are here to stay. Emojis can be described as a small digital image or icon that is primarily used in electronic communication to express certain ideas, feelings, and so forth. “Emoticons” are the predecessors of “emoji”.
Emoticons refer to a representation of facial expressions that are created by various combinations of keyboard characters, such as: “:-)” (representing a smile).
The launch of a new set of emoji from Apple is a sign that these signs of emotion are not going anywhere, but rather becoming more and more complex and nuanced. From their usage in text messages and on other social platforms, emojis have come to function as a shortcut for more complex language and emotions. While the term “emojis” was only coined much further on from its actual emergence, emojis have a rich history that dates almost 150 years back.
1862 – A speech by Abraham Lincoln included the symbol “;)” in it.
This sparked debate over whether or not this symbol was merely a typo or actually written with its full intent of being an emoticon.
|1881 – The first instance where emoticons were purposefully used was in Puck Magazine. The team working for the satirical magazine formed these emotions with specific characters, which was also known as “typographical art”.|
|1912 – Critic Ambrose Bierce wrote an essay on writing reform, wherein he suggested new punctuation marks to indicate humor and irony in writing. He called this piece: (‿), “the snigger point,” and it was used to represent a smiling mouth.|
1982 – Scott Fahlman, a computer scientist at Carnegie Mellon University, posted the first documented happy and sad emoticons (a happy face and a sad face).
The respective emoticons were formed with a colon, a hyphen and parentheses. Writing on an online bulletin board, Fahlman told readers, “I propose the following character sequence for joke markers: 🙂 Read it sideways.”
|1990 – The term “emoticon” was used in print for the first time in the New York Times.|
|1994 – Online instant messaging lead a boom in the use of emoticons.|
|1998 – The first emoji was created in Japan by Shigetaka Kuirita, who was part of the team working on NTT DoCoMo’s i-mode mobile internet platform. The emoji was created as part of i-mode’s messaging features to help facilitate electronic communication, in addition to acting as a distinguishing feature from other such services.|
|2001 – The term “emoticon” was added to the Oxford dictionary.|
|2002 – The term “emoticon” was dubbed the official Internet ‘lingo’ after being added to the Urban dictionary.|
|2008 – Apple released emojis in the iOS 2.2 (iPhone) software update to the Japanese market.|
|2009 – Google added emojis to Gmail and Fred Benenson initiated “Emoji Dick,” a crowd-sourced project that consisted of translating almost 10 000 sentences of Moby Dick literature into emojis.|
|2010 – Emojis adopt a Unicode; i.e. a computing industry, standard for most of the worlds writing and character systems.|
|2011 –Emojis had their first international debut on Apple iOS 5 system.|
2012 – iOS 6 is launched and it includes new emojis, like the gust of wind emoji (now know as the ‘fart’ emoji). In addition, the front cover of the New Yorker was almost entirely made up of emojis.
|2013 – The term “emoji” is added to the Oxford dictionary and Katy Perry releases a lyric video predominantly comprised of emojis.|
|2015 – Apple releases its most revolutionized range of racially, sexually and culturally diverse emojis.|