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From a cave wall to the computer screen!

Humans have been using symbols to communicate and convey emotion since the Stone Age. The language was born from images and now it looks like we have gone back to it.

What is an emoji? We often think of these engaging little characters as a way to add graphics to a tweet or Facebook post. But these simple images are powerful symbols. Emoji are, in fact, compact characters that, because of their visual nature, can communicate an amazing amount of information and subtleties of human emotion.

It’s not just emoji!

We actually use graphic communication constantly in our daily lives! Think about the internationally recognized signs for telephone ☎️, airport ? and the bathroom ?.

So many of our methods for conveying information (sometimes quite complex) use simple abstract shapes. The reason this works is that, as a society, we have created agreed upon meanings for these symbols. So when we see one, we instantly know how to interpret it, without even thinking.

This TEDx Talk by Marcel Danesi is brilliant and so worth the 18 Minutes out of your day to watch to the end!

Love it or hate it, communicating in images and symbols is back in a big way. But instead of dabbing our fingers into crude paints, we’re tapping the screens of our phones to express emotions.

When Japanese artist Shigetaka Kurita created the first emoji in 1999, he intended them to be a way to convey more information than the 250 characters that an early mobile phone system allowed.

Since then, emoji have become so popular that they’re used more than 5 billion times each day on Facebook Messenger!

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