Neapolitan pizza against Mexican tacos


There are now more than 3000 emojis available on our smartphones
There are now more than 3000 emojis available on our smartphones (JÖRG CARSTENSEN / DPA)

Regulars of SMS, Messenger or WhatsApp use emojis every day. To express their moods or form complete sentences: small-yellow ileys that cry with laughter or frown, cuckoo hands, cats, clocks, pretzels or roses.

The language of emojis has invaded the thread of our messages. At a time schematic and regressive, it nevertheless remains universal. In Japanese, “emoji “ means “letters in pictures”: oYou cannot understand them even without speaking the same language.


In early 2014, a British computer scientist, Jeremy Burge, decided, by game, to dedicate a world day to them. He chooses the 17 duillet, simply because it is the date that appears on the “calendar” icon of our teesphones.

A few months later, it is a certain Barack Obama who provides after-sales service by offering a big publicity stunt to emojis. The American president, who receives his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe at the White House, thanks him for all that Japan has brought to American youth. He cites “le karate, karaoke. Manga, anime. And, of course … emojis.

The very first emoji, a black and white pixelated heart, was indeed created in 1995 by a Japanese telephone operator.


Today there are over 3,000. The most used remains the face with tears of joy, but the designs are more and more sophisticated, more and more personalized. The same character can come in blonde, brown or red, and in six different skin colors.

Anyone can propose the creation of a new emoji (influence groups are not without it), but the selection process is extremely strict. It is controlled by a single body, the Unicode Consortium, which includes Apple, Google, Facebook and Netflix, among others. To be validated, the emoji proposed must provide proof that it will be popular and that it responds to a real users need.

For 2020, this committee validated 117 new icons, which showcase inclusiveness and diversity. We can notablyDiscover a man who gives the bottle or transgender people. Commitment welcomed by the LGBT community, while the rainbow flag of gay and lesbian pride is already present in the catalog since 2016.

Emojis say a lot about the debates that stir our societies. In 2016, Apple joined the anti-gun mobilization in the United States by transforming its revolver emoji into a water pistol.


Another recurrent subject of controversy, food. The pizza emoji, for example, is not very appetizing with its three slices of industrial pepperoni on a yellow background.

The Italians, outraged, demand the image of a real Neapolitan pizza. With green for the basil leaves and white for the melting mozzarella. They even launched a petition. But they are still very far from the 30,000 signatures that have enabled Maxican tacos to earn their icon status hands down.

The other great struggle of pressure groups is the regional flags. The Brittany has been campaigning for two years for the creation of a Gwenn ha Du emoji, the ermine flag. At the start of the year, she launched a major campaign on Twitter for Internet users to use this keyword and thus expand its file with the Unicode Consortium


In a few weeks, this black and white flag was used much more on social networks than that of Greece or Finland.

The result will be announced next January. The region will in any case have won a great communication campaign.



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