Find the emoji meaning easily.

Emojis – Because a picture can say more than many words

The written word irritates to misunderstandings. Especially with hasty typed chat or mail messages, a remark can quickly become misunderstood and cause an unwanted reaction. In order for the to happen as rarely as possible, small pictures are added to a text message, which clarify the written and in a certain direction direct. If you are thinking about the famous smileys, you are on the right way – but not quite there yet, because we are already a few steps further today and want to talk about them.

What is an emoji?

They are small pictures, which should express a certain emotion or reference. It was invented by a Japanese man named Shigetaka Kurita. He was to design NTT DoCoMo small graphics in 1990 for the Japanese mobile phone provider NTT to simplify communication via short text messages . The result were the first emojis, which were very spartan and did not have by far the high degree of detail common today, not to mention several colors. Only 12 x 12 pixels and one only color included the first of them! But it was precisely this modest quality of the early years that helped the Emoji to establish itself so quickly: The first emoji was so small that it didn’t fall under the copyright – which pleased the competitors of NTT DoCoMo very much as they could also equip their own devices with emojis. It didn’t take long before belonged to good sound to upgrade mobile phone messages with an emoji.

Is an emoji the same as an emoticon?

The terms emoji, emoticon and smiley often cause some confusion, as they are usually used for the same purpose. In fact, however, there is a clear difference between an them, even if a certain relationship cannot be denied. Simply put, an emoticon is just the illusion of a symbol or image created by stringing different standard characters together: colon, minus and parentheses, for example, result in a happy or sad smiley.

  • πŸ™‚ or πŸ™

The great advantage of emoticons is their universal usability completely independent of the system used, wherever standard characters (called ASCII code) are entered using a keyboard, an emoticon can also be generated. The disadvantage of course is the very rudimentary drawing of the “image”, in addition a sided shift of the perspective has to be taken, because otherwise the sense of the emoticon does not open up.

…and the Smiley?

The smiley is older than all emoticons and emojis – it has already appeared analog as an internationally popular image and is used in the digital world as emoticon and emoji. As emoji he is usually bigger and more colorful and often more versatile in his facial expressions. Many text and chat programs replace the standard characters automatically by such a bigger and prettier emoji when entering a smiley, as we have introduced it to you above, but also some very simple smileys belong to the standard characters, the ASCII code.

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Global standard thanks to Unicode

So that they can also be used problem-free all over the world, there is Unicode. This is a proven international standard that includes almost every character used in the world and makes it usable for digital use. Only in October 2010 did the Emoji make it into the Unicode tables, but also in many forms. The principle is very simple: Each character or symbol contained in Unicode has its own, unchangeable four-digit ID, which can be read by any compatible program and output in the defined form. So if you use an emoji, then not the actual image, but only the code is transferred, which the recipient translates back into the appropriate emoji. The aim is to ensure uniform communication. Before Unicode was developed and used for uniform representation of each emoji, there were several other methods, for example Shift_JIS. The competing and divergent systems have caused a lot of chaos and confusion before Unicode finally created a universally valid standard.

…and still differences?

In tensionto the experience of many Emoji users is that one of them used differ significantly depending on the platform (Apple, Facebook, Messenger, WhatsApp). This is simply because the different providers use their own “emoji font” for each of their programs, for which the respective images have been designed differently. For example, Unicode defines a large, smiling smiley, but not its exact proportions or color. Therefore, massiv differences may occur in some cases. In addition, the modern emojis unlike their tiny forefather are large and detailed enough to fall under the copyright. Every single one of these pictures is protected by a copyright and may not be used without the permission of the copyright holder! That is why every provider has to design his own – which in turn are protected against access by third parties.

The not always easy question about the emoji meaning

Today, in the age of the Internet and continuous digital communication via the various messengers, emoji has become an integral part of our everyday lives. At size and versatility the small pictures have increased considerably – and an emoji meaning is not always immediately apparent to the user. Therefore there are a lot of websites, which are dedicated to the topic Emoji meaning and offer exact and partly very comprehensive listings. The interpretation of an emoji meaning is ultimately also complicated by the copyright-related deviations of the individual emojis. Sometimes this can lead to misunderstandings, and on the Internet regular petty wars have already flared up around a certain emoji meaning. In the case of the emoji “Grinning face with smiling eyes” (Unicode 1F601), the emoji meaning was even interpreted quite differently by many users: While one part interpreted the emoji positively, the second large group saw a negative statement in it.

The smileys as a mass phenomenon

With the Internet, the smileys and emoticons also appeared as a new phenomenon. The smilies cover a basic human need. Because with their help emotions can be represented simply, without these must be described pedantically. basic emotions or the attitude of the author to a topic can be expressed with a simple smiley. The emoticon meaning has many facets. The smileys were invented by Scott Fahlmann, then a student and now a professor of computer science in the USA. In 1982, in an early electronic discussion forum of Carnegie Mellon University, he used the characters πŸ™‚ and πŸ™ and suggested converting them graphically using computer means. Each smiley face should become an image by coding, each smiley face should appear as a converted image at the receiver. But it was still a long way, until this idea around the emoticon meaning could assert itself. The pioneers of the Internet age began about in the 1990s with the spread of the Internet, character combinations such as :-), πŸ˜‰ or :-O to string together to say through a smiley face that they are happy, see somewhat ironically or perceive with astonishment. The “New Economy” quickly took up this trend and transformed the signs into the corresponding images. Smilies and emoticons were a purchase argument with which the first chat systems like ICQ or Skype tried to outdo each other with new and more sophisticated smileys. With the mobile Internet, the new possibilities to exchange messages via SMS short messages or to form so-called Online-Communities in groups like Whatsapp, the smileys and emoticons got another boost. Due to modern user behavior and the need to communicate quickly everywhere, smilies once again gained in importance. Anyone who is sitting in a cafΓ© with friends and has just received a message, for example, would like to respond quickly in order to be able to devote himself to the “real” conversations in the cafΓ© again. A simple smiley face is just right.

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Smileys versus Emojis

Of course, the basic idea of smileys was also known in Japan, which was enthusiastic about technology. The Japanese smileys and emoticons developed in Japan initially independently of their western variant. The Japanese Shigetaka Kurita is considered the inventor of the Emojis. In principle, smileys could also be called emojis and vice versa. But there are some differences in the Japanese way to today’s emoticon. On the one hand, earlier than Internet users in the West, the Japanese began to describe not only emotions, but also images with key combinations and later to convert them graphically. For example, the emoticon meaning :*> stands for a cat and the emoticon meaning (:< for a bird. In addition, the Japanese were pioneers in creating emoticon meaning not only expression images that were read from left to right. They also made horizontal emoticons such as the key combination (Β²_Β²) for a woman with long eyelashes or (*_*) for an extremely happy person who shines with his heart. Basically, the Japanese version of the smileys was characterized by a higher complexity and a greater joy of improvisation compared to its western counterparts. This was due to the Japanese enthusiasm for technology and the stronger imprint of thinking in pictures. Similar to China, the Japanese spelling is also oriented towards pictorial expression. The Japanese have set standards in the field of smileys. With their complex and loving emojis they inspired their colleagues in the West. Internet users gratefully accepted the suggestions from the Far East and downloaded the graphic images from Japan for their own chat channels. As competition stimulates business, Western companies of the “New Economy” have expanded their smiley face offer accordingly in order to be able to keep up with the competition from Japan.

The emoticons as the next step

Smileys, emojis and emoticons are often equated. Of course, all three terms stand for conveying basic moods and feelings visually. But strictly speaking, text faces and emojis are the key combinations that without technical conversion. So the smiley face stands for a smiling person as a smiley face for the”:-)”. One text faces is already the conversion of the smiley. Le Lenny Face” ( Ν‘Β° ΝœΚ– Ν‘Β°) is also famous. There are already many variants of this. These lenny faces usually consist of three components. The eyes, mouth/nose and ears. The Lenny Face can be used to express a wide variety of emotions. When the offers of providers to already provide a wide range of smileys graphically converted were not yet widespread, the early internet users with great dedication and passion independently developed new key combinations and thus extended the “vocabulary” of smileys and text faces more and more. It was a very creative age in the early days of the Internet. Today, as the providers of various messenger and chat channels take over this work, the visual icons are already available to users. You no longer need to use the corresponding key combination, but can generate a prefabricated image with one click. Smileys and text faces are the key combinations that stand for the respective message. An emoji is already the transformed image. It kind of repressed the old smiley.

Unicode and ASCII

Unicode and ASCII are two technical systems used by New Economy companies to convert any smiley into a new image. Unicode has established itself as the international standard for character sets that are interpreted by computers as commands. With this uniform system, Unicode makes its contribution so that users from all over the world can use the same smileys and text faces with their respective emoticon meaning on their systems. Each text face meaning is converted by Unicode into a corresponding image. The database of the system already contains about 250,000 characters and as reserve over 1,000,000 characters. So there is enough space in the database for almost any text face, no matter how demanding. The strength of Unicode lies not only in its standardization but also in its complexity, which ensures that almost every need can be met and almost every smiley can be graphically converted. ASCII in turn stands for “American Standard Code of Information Interchange”. The 7-bit code was initially used to display and transmit data. Today, the more powerful system of 8-bit code is used. For its work, the system uses the Roman alphabet, the Arabic number system and numerous punctuation and special characters. Their combination makes the possibilities for new commands and conversions almost inexhaustible. It has proven to be a efficient system for any form of emoticon.

Why smileys always look different

If you use the text faces from your smiley set, you will notice that they always look different, depending on whether you are on Facebook, Whatsapp or Skype. Even if you use different smartphones, this effect can occur. This is because vendors use different operating systems. The codes for smilies and emoticons have been standardized by Unicode and ASCII. When interpreting the codes, however, each operating system goes a different way. In other words, the developers have different ideas about how best to implement the emoticon meaning. Of course, this phenomenon is not unproblematic. For example, a study by the University of Minnesota found that the same smiley can be perceived differently depending on the transformation. Even the original Miley, the smiling face, can be perceived as either sincere or cynical, depending on the implementation. So even the most innocent text faces today can cause serious misunderstandings.