Emoting With Emoji

17:23 minutes

Emoji—the tiny and typically adorable pictographs that increasingly accent our online communication—were first created in Japan in 1999. Emoji became a part of Unicode, which sets a computing standard for text, in 2010. After that, operating systems like Apple’s iOS and Android introduced emoji keyboards in 2011 and 2013, respectively. (Apple also introduced ethnically diverse emoji in April of this year as part of its iOS 8.3.) Since then, tear-shedding smiley faces, fried shrimp, and syringes (for example) have increasingly popped up in texts and tweets. And earlier this month, Thomas Dimson, a software engineer at Instagram, shared findings that around 40 percent of text on that social media platform contains emoji. Dimson, along with linguist Tyler Schnoebelen and interactive designer Ana Becker, discuss how emoji shape the way we communicate online.

Segment Guests

Tyler Schnoebelen

Tyler Schnoebelen is a Ph.D. in linguistics at Stanford University and a chief analyst and founder of Idibon in San Francisco, California.

Thomas Dimson

Thomas Dimson is a software engineer of the data team at Instagram in Menlo Park, California.

Ana Becker

Ana Becker is graphics editor and news apps developer at the Wall Street Journal in New York, New York.

Meet the Producer

About Becky Fogel

Becky Fogel is a newscast host and producer at Texas Standard, a daily news show broadcast by KUT in Austin, Texas. She was formerly Science Friday’s production assistant.