What Are Emojis? 10 Amazing Facts You Didn't Know

Things you never knew about those little smiley icons all over the web


These days, digital communication goes far beyond typing out a few words or sentences and hitting Send. Just look around on any popular social network or open up your last few text messages to see how many smiley faces, hearts, animals, food, and other image-based characters you can spot. Those are emojis!

Those iconic little Japanese images are more popular on the internet today than ever before. There are even ​emoji translators to help you figure out what they mean. 

Since emojis are here to stay as long as we all continue tweeting and texting from our smartphones (and computers), here are a few interesting facts about those crazy, colorful little emojis that prove just how much the world really loves them.

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Where Did Emojis Come From?

Believe it or not, emojis have actually existed since 1999—but they weren't really fully embraced by the masses until 2012 when Apple released iOS 6.

iPhone uses quickly learned that they could activate the emoji keyboard in iOS 6 to add fun little smileys and icons in their text messages.

The emoji movement has since expanded to being regularly used on all sorts of social network sites, including Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and others.

Apple later introduced animoji in 2017. 

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Emoji Tracker Tracks All Emojis Used in Realtime on Twitter

Want to see how many people around the world are tweeting out emoji instantly? You can do that with a tool called Emoji Tracker, described as being "an experiment in realtime visualization" of all emojis found on Twitter.

It constantly updates based on emoji information it pulls from Twitter, so you can see the number count beside each emoji increase right before your eyes. 

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'Emoji' Was Added as a Word to Oxford Dictionaries in 2013

The emoji craze had caught on so much throughout 2012 and 2013 that it was added as a real word by the one and only Oxford Dictionaries in August 2013, along with several other strange new words that could only be explained by the internet.

To see which other words were added, check out this list of 10 internet words you can find in the Oxford Dictionary.

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Emoji Tattoos Are Showing Up In Odd Places

What's the latest trend in tattoo art? Emoji, of course!

Atlanta Hawks basketball player Mike Scott has not one, not two, but several emoji tattooed on both arms from the looks of the photos posted here on FanSided.

Miley Cyrus also has some ink featuring the sad cat emoji, though a bit more discrete, located on the inside of her lower lip.

Are they real? Who knows, but they sure do make quite a statement.

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New Emojis Are Announced Regularly

New emojis are being added all the time. In 2017 the Unicode Consortium finalized 69 new ones including a vampire, a genie, a mermaid, and many more.

If your mobile device is still running on an older OS version, you'll want to update it as soon as a new version is released to make sure you get access to all these new and fun emojis.

You can view the full list of the most recently added emojis here.

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The "Face With Tears of Joy" Is Among The Most-used Emojis

According to Emoji Tracker, people seriously love to use the face with tears of joy to express their laughter seeing as how it's the number-one most popular emoji used on Twitter.

The red heart, the heart eyes face, and the pink hearts emojis fall in second, third, and fourth place, respectively, suggesting that people also really enjoy expressing their love for someone or something online.

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A Documentary Sums Up Our Obsession With Emojis

Dissolve.com published a creative short film featuring emojis as the subject of a documentary, inspired by the work and distinct voice of Sir David Attenborough.

The film is less than two minutes long, but it sums up our strange and confusing obsession with emoji quite well. You can watch it here.

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Emoji Support for Twitter's Web Version Is Available

Using Twitter on mobile devices has always been kind of a big deal, but until Twitter finally released emoji support on its web version on April of 2014, those little icons would simply show up as blank boxes if you visited Twitter.com on a laptop or desktop computer.

They're not quite identical to the ones you see and type on mobile, but they come pretty close, and anything is better than a bunch of boxes filling up your Twitter stream.

For the record, you can now add Emoji keyboards to your Android device, too. So Android users don't have to suffer through those strange square boxes, either. 

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Imoji Was an App That Let People Turn Their Selfies into Emojis

An app called Imoji was launched by GIF search engine Giphy for creative emoji livers. It used to allow people to turn photos of themselves, their pets, or even their favorite celebs into sticker emojis that they could insert into their text messages.

It worked by allowing users to choose a photo and then use their finger to trace around the area they wanted to be transformed into a textable sticker image.

The app is no longer available, unfortunately, but it was a neat idea while it lasted.