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POPULARITY CONTEST: The face with tears of joy emoji 😂 is the most used emoji in the world. (The red heart ❤️ is No. 2.) Which emoji do you use most often?

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NGSS: Core Idea: ETS1.B

CCSS: Reading Informational Text: 1

TEKS: 6.3D, 7.3D, 8.3D, 9.3B, T.9.1B

 

All About Emojis

Whether you 😍 or 😠 emojis, they’re a part of modern life. Here’s how they’re created.

AS YOU READ, THINK ABOUT the steps in the design process used to create an emoji.

Every day, people send billions of emojis to one another via text messages and posts to social media sites like Twitter and Facebook. We rely on these tiny images to express what we’re feeling when we can’t see 🙈 or hear 🙉 who we’re chatting with. But where do these cute icons come from 🤔? Next time you send a ❤️ or a 👍, there’s a group of computer scientists you should thank.

Every day, people send billions of emojis to one another. These tiny images appear in text messages and posts to social media sites like Twitter and Facebook. We use emojis to show how we feel. They’re a big help when we can’t see 🙈 or hear 🙉 who we’re chatting with. But where do these cute icons come from 🤔? Next time you send a ❤️ or a 👍, you should thank a group of computer scientists.

The Unicode Consortium is a nonprofit organization made up primarily of people from tech companies such as Apple, Google, and Adobe. It’s tasked with managing the world’s emojis by assigning each a unique alphanumeric code, consisting of letters 🔤 and numbers 🔢. Any smartphone, tablet, or computer 💻 can translate these codes into their corresponding emojis.

Each year, Consortium members meet to review more than 100 proposals for new emojis—about 50 get chosen. The group uses several factors to decide which ones get approved. Emojis must be easily recognizable ✅, likely to be used by many people ✅, and useful for communication ✅. No company logos or depictions of real people are allowed ❌.

The Unicode Consortium is a nonprofit organization. Its members are mostly people from tech companies such as Apple, Google, and Adobe. Its job is to manage the world’s emojis by giving each its own alphanumeric code. The code contains letters 🔤 and numbers 🔢. Any smartphone, tablet, or computer 💻 can translate these codes into their matching emojis.

Consortium members meet each year. They review more than 100 ideas for new emojis. About 50 get chosen. The group uses several factors to decide which ones to approve. Emojis must be easy to understand ✅ and likely to be used by many people ✅. They also must be useful for communication ✅. No company logos or images of real people are allowed ❌.

The Consortium also tries to add emojis that are diverse and inclusive. In 2015, emojis became available in a range of skin colors 👩🏽‍⚕️ 🙋🏻‍♂️ 👩🏾‍🎓. In 2017, the group approved an emoji depicting a woman wearing a hijab, or head scarf. And this year, a new set of emojis will represent people with disabilities.

Anyone can propose a new emoji—even teens, like you ✊! In fact, a 15-year-old named Rayouf Alhumedhi came up with the idea for the hijab emoji. She sent the idea to Unicode—noting that 550 million Muslim women, like her, wear a head scarf every day. A member of the committee worked with Rayouf to hone her proposal, including coming up with an emoji design. Because of her, an underserved community is now represented digitally around the world 🌍. It turns out a little picture can say a lot! ⚛️

The Consortium also tries to add emojis that include many different people. In 2015, they added emojis in a range of skin colors 👩🏽‍⚕️ 🙋🏻‍♂️ 👩🏾‍🎓. In 2017, the group approved an emoji of a woman wearing a hijab, or head scarf. And a new set of emojis is coming this year. It will picture people with disabilities.

Anyone can suggest a new emoji, even teens, like you ✊! In fact, a 15-year-old thought of the hijab emoji. Rayouf Alhumedhi sent her idea to Unicode. She told them that 550 million Muslim women, like her, wear a head scarf every day. A Unicode member worked with Rayouf to develop her idea. That included creating an emoji design. Because of her, a group that is often overlooked now has a digital image. And that image is used around the world 🌍. A little picture can say a lot! ⚛️

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