An application is not a matter of filling out a form. For example, the official application for the polar bear at unicode contains more than 14(!) pages of well-substantiated speech about climate change. The polar bear is now here, but not every application has the same success. For example, hard action was taken for the inclusion of the ‘sad poo’, but it did not make it. No added value, was the final verdict of the consortium.
The diversity battle seems no less than self-evident. But what makes the selection process as the consortium now seems to be organizing difficult is that it is an illusion that the emoji set will ever be completely complete. All the traditional dishes in the world, clothing, sports… it is never going to be possible to add everything. It is also questionable whether that is desirable. Your keyboard would become an endless ‘scroll’ and who is waiting for that? The point is, however, that the selection process is not very transparent and the representation is still out of balance when you compare the diversity among users against who, and which objects, are represented in the palette.
Experts such as Lilian Stolk do agree: more transparency in the decision-making process would help to create a better understanding of the consortium’s choices. For example, the menstrual emoji didn’t make it, despite half the world having to deal with it, but a drop of blood was eventually added. Stolk thinks that’s a good thing, she said earlier in NRC:
The idea is: that drop can represent more than just menstruation. That’s what I’m here for, you don’t want to end up with tens of thousands of emojis on our keyboard. But then you also have to make such a decision in other cases. I think it would be good if users were more involved in that process.
An additional problem: Unicode never removes emojis. Once in the set, the unicode persists, so the emoji remains available forever. The reason for this is that the consortium sees archiving our language as its primary task. Possibly outdated symbols belong there just as well. Practically speaking, it presents a challenge. Because how many Administration Directors Email Lists emojis will we end up with? In addition, you may wonder if it is still really necessary to have a floppy disk in emoji? Or a joystick? Nice nostalgic items of course, but no teenager who still recognizes them.
Emojis will provide much needed fodder for discussion in the coming years. Is that bad? I do not think so. Language, and therefore also visual language such as emoji, is a dynamic phenomenon and will always continue to develop under the influence of, among other things, the zeitgeist and technological developments. And development, a set that grows with the times, is also what keeps the emoji relevant.
This is evident from the annual election of the emoji that best summarizes the year of Emojipedia. Which one won 2021? Three guesses . Before 2022 , the election will still be held via Twitter . So do vote!