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  • 작성자 사진Noh Hyun-jin

[Culture] We Are Emoticon and Emoji! Come with Us!

No.153 / Sep 6, 2021

It is not easy to understand either the feelings of the speaker or the atmosphere in non-face-to-face communication, compared to a face-to-face interaction. The emoticon, a combination of the English words “emotion” and “icon” was born out of this need. However, it is not easy to identify the first emoticon clearly. The emoticon “:)” appeared in the poem To Fortune written by American poet Robert Herrick in 1648, and “;)” appeared in a speech by Abraham Lincoln, next to the word “laughter” in The New York Times in 1862. It is not clear whether they included the emoticons in the sentences intentionally in the first place or if they were mistakes in the process of transferring the text. The first digital emoticons clearly appeared in 1982 when Scott Fahlman, a professor at the Carnegie Mellon University, in the course of a discussion with his students on an online bulletin board, suggested two things: “:-)” to mean a joke and “:-(” to mean a real situation. This new way of expression quickly spread to online users at the time and it has been accepted and reproduced around the world since the 1990s, when dial-up Internet access became common.

Furthermore, the emergence of internet messengers led to the appearance of imaged emoticon called emoji. Currently, emoticons and emojis are viewed differently. If it is made by combining letters and symbols, it is regarded as an emoticon, and if it is a completed form of an image, it is regarded as an emoji. The first emoji was created in 1999 by the Japanese mobile carrier NTT Docomo. Although it did not draw much attention at the time, it gained prominence in the 2000s with the emergence of Internet messengers. In addition, smartphones became popular in the 2010s, and people actively used emojis for communication. In 2011, Apple’s mobile operating system iOS adopted emojis, and in 2013, Android started providing emojis. However, there is a separate place to develop and manage emojis. The Unicode Consortium (Unicode) produces and releases new emoji international standard codes every year. (Software platform companies such as Apple, Google, and Samsung can modify them.) Thus, the emojis reflect the trend of the times. The various couple emojis, emojis that have several skin colors, emojis that represent various compositions of the family, female emojis from various occupations, and disability-related emojis, such as prosthetic arms, wheelchairs, and hearing aids, have all appeared.

Currently, emojis that can be purchased separately based on users’ tastes are gaining popularity in messengers such as KakaoTalk. In addition, there are emojis that reflect not only tastes but also oneself in real time using Augmented Reality (AR). Emoticon and emoji changes will be endless in the future. Let us have fun watching these changes.


 

By Noh Hyun-jin, AG Reporter

noh0605@ajou.ac.kr




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