Ancient Egyptians had their hieroglyphics. Now, millennials and technophiles have their own modern-day version of an esoteric code that's hard to decipher.
Emojis have become the universal way the digital world communicates with each other — as well as a staple of smartphones, tablets and even Apple's new laptop. They've been around for years, but a recent San Francisco-based conference, dubbed "Emoijcon," shone a spotlight on how important the quirky characters are becoming to major brands, tech enthusiasts and those who create them.
The conference was organized by Jeanne Brooks, Jennifer 8. Lee and Yiying Lu, founders of "Emojination," a campaign that works with Unicode, the international computing standard for use of different languages or scripts. Last week, the consortium approved 51 new characters for use in mobile devices.
Most of the world's writing system includes Unicode, and every character receives a different number, which has extended to emojis. Emojination has designed a dumpling, chopsticks, fortune cookie and a takeout box, and has submitted them for consideration.
Underscoring how the characters are becoming both a social phenomenon and branding opportunity, sponsors like GE, Adobe and Baidu already use emojis in their businesses. Domino's Pizza lets its Twitter followers order by emoji, while Coca-Cola's #ShareaCoke campaign automatically generated a custom emoji.