Marketing for Small Businesses

Internet Lingo History or Emoji This!

Once upon a time, a cookie was just a delicious cookie. But with the increased popularity and usage of the internet in the 1990s, came the addition of some great new words and new meanings to existing words in our shared vocabulary. We thought it would be fun to look back and share some interesting facts on the source of some of these words that have become a part of our daily vocabulary in the marketing world.

We’ll kick things off his week with a word used for a picture, a word so commonplace for symbols so omnipresent it’s hard to remember when they didn’t exist.


From the Beginning

Emojis are images and symbols used to convey meaning or express emotions in electronic communication. Japanese designer Shigetaka Kurita is credited with creating the first widely-used set of emojis in 1999, although a set of emojis was included on the J-Phone mobile phone on November 1, 1997.

The word itself comes from the Japanese e (絵, “picture”) + moji (文字, “character”). It’s just luck that the e+moji fit so well with its use to convey emotion in the English language. Emojis are published under the Unicode Standard which is managed by the non-profit Unicode Consortium to ensure consistency across platforms and around the world This consortium includes members from Apple, Adobe, Google, Microsoft, Oracle, and Yahoo. With the addition of 230 new emojis in 2019 to the published 2,823 emojis, there are now even more ways to say what we want to say without having to type a word.

Pop Cultureexample of emoji categories

From cave drawings to the smiley face image that became popular in the 1960s, emojis are just a new version of one of the oldest forms of communication – imagery. With the increased use of smartphones and e-communications, emojis aren’t going anywhere. There are so many emojis, that they are even grouped into categories – Animals & Nature, Food & Drink, Travel & Places, Objects… and on. From emoji movies to even poop emoji hats, it looks like emojis are here to stay.

To Emoji or Not to Emoji?

As emojis expanded from frowning faces and thumbs up signs to the imagery that represented ideas, locations, and so much more, the question became whether it was appropriate to use emojis in marketing communications? By its nature, social media is grounded in imagery and the thumbs up/down shortcuts that emojis offer us. As emojis have become more commonplace, their usage in marketing on a limited appropriate basis in the right communication channel can add a pop that can catch the eye of a well-versed internet user. A well-timed ⏰ or a perfectly placed ⭐ for an upcoming promotion relayed via email can stand out in email inboxes.

Here is to more emoji’s that fit each of us!

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