World Emoji Day, celebrating technology users’ favorite emoticons, is Saturday.
Jeremy Burge, the founder of the icon reference site Emojipedia, created the holiday in 2014. The day is intended to celebrate the beloved icons that are increasingly used in online messaging.
World Emoji Day organizers are asking the public to vote in the World Emoji Awards. The categories for this competition include most popular new emoji, most anticipated new emoji, most 2021 Emoji, and lifetime achievement.
Twitter users can vote for their favorite emojis through polls posted by @EmojiAwards. The voting is now open for the most 2021 Emoji, and the competition has narrowed down to two icons: Syringe, and Microbe.
Keith Brioni, the deputy emoji officer of Emojipedia, said he is rooting for the Syringe, but added “we will have to see if the wider emoji public is in agreement come World Emoji Day.”
The winners of the 2020 World Emoji Awards included the White Heart as the most popular new emoji, the Smiling Face with Tear as the most anticipated new emoji, and the Raised Fist: Dark Skin Tone as the most 2020 emoji.
New emojis are approved by the Unicode Consortium, a nonprofit group that regulates all digital scripts. In 2010 emojis were accepted into the Unicode Standard, which creates consistency for all programmed letters and symbols.
According to Brioni, “adding these designs to this cross-platform standard allowed emojis to be exchanged in-line with words across different devices and social platforms on a global scale, beyond anything that had been experienced before.”
There are already more than 3,500 emojis. Placing emojis under the supervision of the Unicode Consortium allows designers and activists to submit their proposed icons with ease. This promotes greater diversity and cultural representation that was “initially lacking or entrenched in stereotypes during emojis earlier days,” said Brioni.
Organizations such as Emojination are dedicated to adding inclusivity to the emoji approval process. As reported by the group, the proposal of the Hijab emoji was accepted by the Unicode Standard in 2017 and entered the permanent collection of Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum in New York last year. The desire for diversity is a shared sentiment according to Adobe’s Global Emoji Diversity & Inclusion report: 83% of global users want more inclusive emojis.
These icons will continue to evolve as their popularity accelerates, and World Emoji Day is a celebration of these changes. As an additional challenge, the World Emoji Day developers ask all texters to only communicate through emojis on Saturday. So, in honor of the holiday: 😊 🌎 📆 🎉 (Happy World Emoji Day)