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World Emoji Day finds its place on a packed calendar of holidays

In an age of fabricated 'holidays', each day of the year now features celebrations for hamburgers, pirates and pancakes, just to name a few. The crowded calendar suggests it was perhaps inevitable that emojis would eventually get recognized as well.

Coinciding with National Ice Cream Day in the U.S. (which by the way brings with it the opportunity to get free samples of the fattening sweet treat), World Emoji Day celebrates the plethora of digital faces used by billions of smartphone and social media users around the globe on a daily basis.

Shonda Rhimes tweet

Even the annual tech extravaganza South by Southwest has gotten in on the action, having featured a panel discussion at this year's conference entitled "The Linguistic Secrets Found in Billions of Emojis."

The expressive electronic images have been around in various iterations for years, but exploded in popularity after Apple introduced emojis with one of their iOS updates a few years back.

The holiday, to the extent it can actually be considered one, was the brainchild of Jeremy Burge. The London-based founder of a site called Emojipedia created it two years ago on Twitter, and giving the day its own Twitter account.

World Emoji Tweet

Recently, Twitter compiled a list of the most popular emojis by geographic region, and found that Italy, France and Japan (credited as the actual birthplace of the emoji) prefer hearts. Meanwhile, U.S. and U.K. users are partial to weary electronic expressions—which may or may not be related to their turbulent politics.

True to its reputation as a company willing to appropriate popular culture in the name of science, General Electric has launched an emoji avatar called "Dot the Bot." Dot's purpose will be to encourage users to crack scientific emoji codes via Facebook Messenger.

The most successful emoji decoders around the world will be awarded various prizes by GE.