Following the genius adoption of emoji and emoticon support to Toneapi’s already stellar capabilities, Adoreboard decided to pen a blog post on the omnipresent Emoji. Here we decided to provide an overview of Emojis, compare them with Emoticons and look at the fledging academic research on this area.
To begin, we shall first define what an Emoji and an Emoticon is, as well as explaining the difference between the two.
An Emoji (Japanese for ‘picture character’) are pictures – such as animals, foods and faces – which convey meanings and emotions.
An Emoticon (which pre-dates Emojis) is a collection of text characters, such as punctuation and symbols, which, when viewed sideways, show facial expressions. Examples of emoticons are: :), 😛 and ;).
The crucial difference is that an Emoji is a picture, while an Emoticon is a set of text characters.
Even though the Yellow Smiley Face was created in 1963 by Harvey Bell, the Emoji was only formally created in the 1990s by the Japanese communications firm, NTT DoCoMo. Emoji’s use as a means of expressing emotions and information exploded across Japanese phone users.
Currently, 722 Emojis have been verified, approved and standardized by the Unicode Consortium, a non-profit organisation who set the the global standards for emojis and their use in mobile communications. However, companies have not always been quick or vigilant in keeping up to date with the Consortium’s guidelines, or even paying attention to them at all. A supreme example of this comes from Facebook who are piloting a ‘reaction emoji’ feature on their Irish and Spanish sites.
However, some people have questioned the widespread use of emojis on sites like Facebook. They point to the easy collection of data on user’s actions and feelings, alongside its tendency to perform intrusive emotional-contagion studies.
Academic research on the subject research has revealed several succulent insights such as the sentiments from emoji use being positive the majority of the time, the potential for misinterpretation in emoji use and the ignoring of emojis in text leading to loss of important information.
The technically capable Toneapi can now analyse over 1000 Emojis and Emoticons, allowing for nuanced emotional analysis. Including emojis and emoticons into text to be analysed can dramatically alter the emotional results of that text.
To read more about this fascinating subject, click on this link.