Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Technology Lesson: Emoji

Emoji is a system of emoticons that is currently very proliferate and popular with smartphones. Old People with iPhones are probably already familiar with emoji, or have received texts displaying the small adorable graphics.

Here is a description from New York magazine, which interviewed William Van Lacker, who helped bring emoji to the iPhone in America: "This visual alphabet, which includes much of the animal kingdom, the produce aisle, and the range of human emotions (plus a pile of feces with a face), now comes preloaded on the iPhone and presents a new frontier in texting, equally enticing to small children and slow-typing septuagenarians."

(New York's Joe Coscarelli received a text from his mother, which was, simply a birthday cake.) Van Lacker told NY Mag that Japanese texters used the emoji keyboard to communicate full sentences because it was easier than the regular keyboard, and I am willing to respect emoji for that reason alone. It is, however, not as efficient in the Western world.

Ipod Touches (iTouches), iPhones, and iPads are emoji enabled, provided the operating system is up-to-date. To get emoji on your iDevice:

Open SETTINGS. (It's the grey icon with the cogs on it.)
Click GENERAL. (It has the same icon.)
Click KEYBOARD. It is under DATE & TIME on my iTouch; you may need to scroll to find it.
Scroll to EMOJI. Press EMOJI.

You'll access the emoji keyboard in iMessage by pressing the globe icon next to the space bar. Here is a message you'll get on your Apple device the first time: "Tap the globe keyboard once to switch to the last used keyboard. Continue tapping to access other enabled keyboards. Tap and hold to show all enabled keyboards."

The clock at the bottom of the emoji keyboard will display your most recently used characters. You'll need to click the other icons to access all of the characters, which include animals, flowers, faces, hand symbols, miscellaneous symbols, and more.

You might knock the socks off your savvy children.

Additional Resources:
The Proliferation of Emoji, NY Mag
Emoji, Wikipedia 
iOS: Understanding emoji, Apple support 

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