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June 18, 2014

Middle Finger Emoji Coming, Among Many Others


Did you know that the first text message was sent over twenty years ago? Well, it is true. That’s when the revolution in digital communication began and text messages went on their way to become the preferred method to reach people, whenever and wherever.

Today, people have become reliant upon text messaging and take full advantage of this direct method of communication. Texters have always felt that one of the main limitations of this method of communication was the difficulty in conveying the emotions of the sender. Without being able to use their tone of voice or body language, users have learned to rely on text emoji characters; these are ideograms (graphic symbols) or smileys (cartoon-like faces) used in posts to express an array of emotions or represent an idea or concept.

It’s true that, nowadays, texting (SMS/MMS) is on the decline, overwhelmed by instant messaging (IM) apps that too contain a robust emoji menu. Although there are signs that its best days (over 20 years) are over, notes a TechHive post, some people believe that texting is not going anywhere and is here to stay.

The future of SMSs and MMSs remains to be seen, but what’s clear is that emoji characters are gaining more and more popularity. Digital communication, in fact, is very different than in the past, and people are adding emoji increasingly to express a range of feelings: irony or sarcasm, anger or affection, for example. Why this is happening is explained in a Business Insider post that affirms that 'People Don't Use Words Any More'; the article states that "[people] usually just talk using Emojis." It seems hundreds of emoji characters have now earned their way into our digital culture, as it happened in Japan, and became almost the standard for electronic communication. They are easier, more immediate and quicker to use than words.

Emoji codes are often used as text substitution; Emoji emoticons are popular as users can quickly convey what they mean and their ideas with “a subtlety that cannot be conveyed with just text, such as irony or sarcasm,” as professional research and consulting organization YouGov reported. In fact, a quarter of Americans (26 percent) use emojis regularly to express their emotions rather than describing them in words. Some of the most-used emojis are positive or negative facial emoticons; others represent nature, objects, places, symbols or mimic gestures.

The reason people care so much about Emoji is that it can reduce ambiguity and intensify or tone down their emotional expression to a degree. Very unambiguous, in fact, is the one that represents one of the oldest and insulting gestures used to express displeasure: the middle finger. The "single-digit salute" favored by many is about to be on a new Emoji list (amidst 250 others) coming in July, after the announcement of Unicode 7.0 by the Unicode Consortium.

According to a report by Firstpost on its website this week, the news about more Emojis coming available is true, including a Middle Finger.

In fact, the Middle Finger Emoji has been already requested more than any other Emoji, and it is expected to become available next month along with other new characters, as part of the Unicode 7.0 update. As the emojipedia.org site puts it, “Finally those with pent-up frustration will be able to express it in Emoji.” I guess people believe there is no better way to get the point across in certain circumstances; now everyone will be able to show really how they feel even if only through a text message.

The middle-finger is sure to become a big hit in the new Emoji list. One thing is clear, that the gesture will attract many users.




Edited by Maurice Nagle


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