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As with language, the meaning of emojis is often based on (cultural) agreements. These can differ per country, (sub)culture, per generation or even per person. They can also change over time. In her book, Lilian Stolk describes how visual language has always struggled with ambiguity. How you interpret an image is based on your experience. For example, Americans used the  to refer to Burger King, while Japanese used it for bakkukeru; evading your responsibilities. The BK has since been replaced by a dollar sign. Closer to home: By app, I asked my 12-year-old niece which emoji she used most with her friends. It was this ]. “Nice weather”, I said, or “chill time”? No. “Gangster,” she replied.

That ambiguity is a limitation but certainly also the power of the emoji. An emoji can thus outgrow its original meaning and become the bearer of new meanings. In the US, for ex but that’s another story). The endangered polar bear emoji [] has become a symbol of the climate crisis.

Do you want to know the original meaning as it was once recorded by the Consortium? Thenagain offers a solution. Incidentally, where the Consortium falls short, the creativity of users often Finance Directors Email Lists comes to the rescue. For example, activities are often difficult to capture in emojis, but almost everyone in the world knows very well what this means: 

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Future proof?

One conclusion can be drawn: the last edition of World Emoji Day has not yet been celebrated. What once started as a smiling yellow boost has grown into a worldwide popular, beloved, but also functional visual language in our online communication. It gives us the opportunity to communicate emotions in a simple way, to nuance messages and to be creative. And there is good news in that regard. The set of emojis at our disposal will only grow in the coming years. Are you already looking forward to next fall’s maracas?

The Consortium 

Which brings us back to the Unicode Consortium. The consortium that deals with ‘our’ emojis. To understand how the consortium works, it is useful to know how it works. The Unicode Consortium is a foundation that, long before emoji saw the light, aimed to digitize our language. Importantly, the Unicode Consortium doesn’t just make our emojis available by giving them a unicode. It also determines which emojis are added to the set for users annually

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