July 17 is famously displayed on the Calendar Emoji, which is why it was chosen as the date for World Emoji Day (@WorldEmojiDay). According to Emojipedia, founded by Jeremy Burge in 2014, there are 3,304 emojis in the Unicode Standard as of March 2020, and reports of last year’s #WorldEmojiDay hashtag generated over 4 billion Twitter impressions. It is expected that 117 new emojis will be launched as revealed in Emojipedia’s YouTube video announcement.
Local expert Dean McCoubrey, and founder of MySociaLife, South Africa’s leading social media and online safety program taught in schools, explains, “In the same way that devices have become a part of our lives, emojis have become one of the fastest developing new languages in history, especially for GenZ and Millenials. They continue to be more inclusive too, with a bigger focus on gender inclusivity this year. MySociaLife is very close to the ground in terms of social media and popular culture for this generation, and we consistently see many dimensions of kids. There may be TikTok or Fortnite obsession, but there is also an evolution of being conscious about social issues. New emojis sometimes reflect the trends of the time, this year seeing the inclusion of the transgender icon and the (protest) placard.”
The education company is very close to the ground in terms of social media and popular culture for this generation, teaching 4000 students per year in school about life online, but engaging with them over 8 modules – helping them to understand digital identity, the impact of bullying, cybersecurity and privacy risks, addictive use, dangerous apps.”
He adds, “The one universal language that almost any teen or pre-teen with technology access understands is emojis. It crosses continents, cultures and income divides. The challenge that we are seeing right now during COVID-19, with social distancing, is that the fallout from a lack of physical contact and communication. In a recent survey, the number one lesson requested by students in 3 schools – out of the eight lessons we teach Grade 4 to 11 students – was the mental health module. Emojis are fun and curious for sure, but nothing replaces meaningful person-to-person contact.”
A sample of nearly 50,000 tweets from early March 2020, analysed by Emojipedia, revealed that the top emojis most strongly associated with COVID-19 were: Microbe ?: 42%, and Face wearing the medical mask : 36%.
McCoubrey suggests parents “do their due diligence” too. There are few mysterious double meaning to know of – an eggplant emoji doesn’t necessarily mean that your child is a fan of aubergines, the shapely is less about fruit and more about your curves, while the rather immature hand gestures of need little explanation. Check here if you need the translations.
World Emoji Day Facts
Statistically speaking, this is the extent of emoji language that has dominated the internet, according to the World Emoji Day website. Last year on the same day, Apple launched new emojis to its visual language including waffle, flamingo, and sloth and 65 new emojis were announced to be released on Android.
Over 900M emojis are sent every day without text on Facebook Messenger
More than 700M emojis are used in Facebook posts every day
The biggest day for emoji usage on Messenger is New Year’s Eve
86% of emoji users on Twitter are 24 or younger
57% of emoji users on Twitter are Women