How Emojis Got Their Start

Emoticons, the precursor to emojis, started off as nothing more than a colon, a dash and a right-side parenthesis coming together to dance across someone's pager screen and communicate happiness. In the 80's and 90’s,

There had to have been an original go-getter who strived for more than just plain words. After all, when we are having a good conversation with someone we don’t nod and say, "This is humorous. I am smiling now." We laugh and smile with our faces giving a silent instantaneous, visual representation of happiness.

So who was this intrepid young conversationalist who kick started the language, "Emoji”? His name was Scott Fahlman, and during September of 1982, he was the first documented person to ever use the smiley as a means to convey a particular emotion.

Where Emojis Started  

Scott Fahlmen, being the linguistic innovator that he was, was sure to explain to his fellow students at Carnegie Mellon that the emoticon should be read left to right, like most western languages, making those little "lying on their side" smilies fairly relatable to most on this side of the world.

But let's break down the word Emoji for a minute. The word Emoji is a mash up of the "emoticon" and the Japanese word "kaomoji".  A kaomoji is a style of transcribing emoticons that originated in Japan around 1986.

Japan essentially took those basic Fahlman era emoticons, added some flair and some Japanese characters, and flipped them right side up. Doing so made emoticons more universal to both the eastern and western
hemispheres. In a lot of countries, the primary language isn't read left to right, the way that primitive emoticons needed to be read.

The Japanese style revolutionized emoticons by making them instantly more recognizable and accessible to people in countries with a root language other than a Germanic one. These "emojis" were very popular in Japan because of their use in early texting.

While they didn't take off with quite such a fervor in the United States, the idea of taking tiny sideways faces and flipping them upright to make them more emotive, was a novel one.

Emojis are, at their heart, just faces. Yes, there are cat faces, noodles, random objects, and even unicorns, but essentially, they're just a means for us as a consuming public, to express ourselves; communicate.
In 2011, Apple announced the release of the Emoji keyboard. This was huge, because it brought a standardized Emoji language to the approximately 40 million iPhone users, just in the United States alone.

Apple has released iOS 9.1 to the public, with bug fixes, better Live Photos and 184 brand new emoji -- including the middle finger, a burrito and a unicorn.

The new emoji are based on a list already set by the Unicode Consortium, the organisation that standardises the list of characters across different operating systems. So they're not new, but now iOS 9.1 supports all of them -- and iOS is the first operating system to include every emoji in the Unicode Standard.

The update means all kinds of in-demand emoji are coming to iPhones, including middle finger, taco, nerd face, robot, burrito, champagne, a man in a business suit levitating, hot dog, cheese, crab, lion.