Exactly 36 years ago today, an American professor and computer scientist Scott Fahlman used a smiley symbol – ‘:-)’ for the first time in an electronic message. He also used another well-known symbol – ‘:-(’. By using these symbols, the professor sought to distinguish which messages were of serious content and which were meant as a joke. Scott Fahlman most probably didn’t realise at the time just how much interest the symbols would later attract. More and more emojis emerged, and today no digital communication can be imagined without them. So, on the occasion of the birthday of the first emoji, Bitės Profai offer an opportunity to see for yourself just how big the emoji world is, and possibly learn some interesting facts you didn’t know before, a press release from Bitė states.
36 years after the first emoji: five facts you may not know
© Shutterstock nuotr.

'Today it would be really difficult to imagine any communication without emojis. In the form of a special digital icon or a conventional smiley, they are used in everyday life as well as in business correspondence, even in advertisements. 'Emoji' culture is currently so widespread that individual phenomena or events are immediately assigned their specific emoji, and in stretches of the internet some of them have become a piece of the folklore used to express certain agreed things or emotions. On the other hand, modern 'emojis' are so distant from the first smiley ':-)' that even those using emojis on a daily basis may be surprised to learn some facts', says Agnė Adomaitytė, Bitės Profė, pointing out five facts about 'emojis' ranging from impressive statistics to examples of how 'emojis' can be used to express not only emotions but also individual words.

1. Impressive numbers

Although according to the Bitės Profė the first 'emojis' could be counted on the fingers on one hand, it's better not to try counting those that are used today without a calculator.

'Currently there are 2,823 'emojis' used globally. According to the data of the social network Facebook, most of them (about 2,300) are used at least once a day, and globally Facebook messages use more than 700 million 'emojis' every day. True, the number includes some sequences for gender or skin tone or flags, so the actual number of 'emojis' is much larger. What's more, it has been noted that 'emojis' with the same meaning on social networks or Android or iPhone smartphones look different. This is because every manufacturer creates and uses its individual 'emojis' that are different style-wise', the Bitės Profė notes.

2. Which 'emojis' are used most often?

One of the most intriguing things about 'emojis', according to Agnė Adomaitytė, is finding out which are the most favoured and used most often.

'Nowadays, 'emojis' are used everywhere – from messaging on the phone to social media, where it is easy to monitor what the users do or which are used most frequently. So on the basis of analysis conducted by Facebook and Twitter, the five 'emojis' most frequently used by the social network are very similar: 'face with tears of joy', 'smiling face with heart-eyes', 'red heart', 'just laugh' and 'a smiling face with sunglasses' symbolising 'toughness'. It also needs to be said that sometimes these popular 'emojis' are taken over by different ones created for the New Year or other special occasions. But then the leading ones again take the TOP Five positions', the Bitės Profė says.

3. What are the most popular combinations of 'emojis'?

The Bitės Profė notes that knowing how popular 'emojis' have become, it's not at all surprising that they have quite naturally started evolving into an 'emoji' language. 'Most probably every user of a smartphone or any social media has at least once tried to experiment with 'emojis'. Ranging from the most ordinary smileys conveniently used to show what is funny, or a selection of the most favourite unusual 'emoji' to complete sentences, or writing stories only with 'emojis'. There are even dictionaries of 'emoji' combinations with meanings'.

4. 'Emojis' that mean not what you think...

Given that currently more than 2,800 emojis are used globally, the Bitės Profė says there are quite a few that may appear unclear or are simply incomprehensible. 'Currently 'emojis' are used by countries throughout the world, often to convey something characteristic of the culture or a specific nation. For example, a squared white pancake with a rosy spiral shown next to a pizza means a Japanese fish cake, and a brown ball is a rice cookie. Amusing misunderstandings can occur with 'emojis' that are not so easy to immediately understand. A red flame with a brick sign in fact means a name card, a telephone icon with an arrow can mean either an incoming call or the information in a phone, and a violet button is a symbol for a mouse wheel'.

According to Agnė Adomaitytė, it's possible to make a mistake using some smileys because they mean different things at the same time. For instance, a laughter 'emoji' with a drop of sweat means a 'grinning face of sweat', a frowning 'emoji' with a drop of sweat means a 'face with cold sweat', while a sad 'emoji' with a tear means 'a sad but relieved face'.

5. How can companies 'domesticate' 'emojis'?

According to the Bitės Profė, 'emojis' are so popular and favoured by the public that different companies around the world have started using them in their operations, and such attempts have proved successful.

'One of the most frequently mentioned examples of the successful usage of 'emojis' is the well-known Pizza Hut network Domino's Pizza. As soon as a pizza 'emoji' appeared, the company started using it, and all the clients needed to do to order one was to upload a pizza 'emoji' in the Facebook chat box. Another notable example is the Global Nature Fund, which has used 'emojis' to commemorate endangered animal species. The decision was widely discussed, and now people across the world have started to regularly use animal 'emojis'. Another intriguing solution passed by a museum that at the time as displaying a Louis Armstrong trumpet – just by using a trumpet 'emoji' in its records the museum attracted significant attention. And a tropical 'emoji' readily became a symbol for many travel operators, often when making different travel offers', the Bitės Profė says.

Finally, according to Agnė Adomaitytė, in order to find out more about 'emojis', their history and how to find them and use them in your smart device, you are at any time welcome to contact the Bitės Profai who are based in the main Lithuanian cities, who will be happy to help and give you advice.

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