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    I know it’s not constructive but I really feel a bit weird about emoji in general. Obviously people seem to like them and they’ve gained an immense amount of adoption but I still feel like pictograms that differ based on platform, version and implementation are absolutely cursed for conveying information.

    What I mean is: pictures are already lossy at evoking an idea or connotation in the viewer. Pictograms are even more lossy since they are simplified pictures.

    So it’s already an extremely lossy medium and depends heavily on context; even if we both have the same model of phone on the same version of an operating system.

    When you add uncertainty in the outcome then it only gets worse.

    I have also ran afoul of assuming that the race of a particular emoji was an intentional choice intended to convey a particular meaning (I assumed a racist one, actually), when in fact it was just that the person sending it preferred that race of emoji…

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      Miscommunication is already common with words. Language drift happens a lot. Connotations of words change more rapidly than anyone can responsibly keep up to date on. I don’t think Emoji are much worse that in that regard.

      In fact, I’ve had better communication with emoji than without. That’s before discussing the artistic merits. Emoji are fun! ❤️

      Imagine if I had ended my comment with 😃, 🥺, 😒, 🧐, 👌, or 🖕.

      The connotations are ❤️ is attempting to convey positive feelings about emoji and my goodwill towards those reading my comment, whereas 😃 would be more personal enjoyment.

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        In fact, I’ve had better communication with emoji than without. Imagine if I had ended my comment with👌

        That would’ve been a really bad idea because, depending on where your interlocutor is from, it means OK, this is worth nothing, you’re an asshole, you’re gay (and not meant in a good way), possibly are you gay because I’m also gay wink wink (this is the only one that I’ve only heard about, but I’ve never seen it used like that), or the same thing that’s meant by 🖕.

        FWIW, where I’m from, it means either “this food is good” (it’s understood as “OK” but only when referring to food, due to circumstances that are really complicated to explain – if you tried to use it in any other context it’s quite likely that no one would get it) or, among younger people – again, for reasons that are really hard to explain – it means “let’s smoke together”, and I don’t mean tobacco.

        Edit: I don’t mean to say that emojis are bad and they’re a waste of time. They’re cool and I use them all the time and usually, when these things happen, they’re funny. But using them in a professional setting is… probably as bad an idea as back when they were called emoticons. Politics aside it’s really something that can come out wrong for all sorts of reasons, starting with cultural differences and ending with rendering differences.

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          I am actually aware 👌 is obscene in other cultures. 🙂 Gestures (and body language) can vary significantly from place to place. Perhaps I should have mentioned that. I don’t think emoji make things worse or better in that regard.

          I do use emoji in professional emails but I stick to a few positive ones that are commonly understood in the US: 😃, 🙂, 😉, and 👍. I use them to convey emotional content that would otherwise be missing.

          I see people in my company using 🙏 for gratitude. It confused me at first because I recognized it as “praying”, but once I understood the meaning, it became a nice personal touch because it’s used differently than “thank you”. If someone replied with that, you know what you did was meaningful for them.

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            I think it’s safer to only use words. They’re less ambiguous.

            But then, of course, since I’ve been legally blind my whole life, I’m used to missing gestures in in-person conversations.

            I see people in my company using 🙏 for gratitude.

            On the one hand, thanks to Unicode standardization, screen readers can announce that emoji as “folded hands”. On the other hand, I had no idea what that meant until you explained it. Wouldn’t it be better to simply express gratitude in words?

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        Can you give some examples? I usually find emoji to be crystal clear so I’m very intrigued.

        The one exception is Skype’s emoji which are a MESS, eg Face With Monocle is flirty, Pensive is anxious, Weary Cat is excited, etc. Their illustrator is very confused about human emotions.

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          I can give a few.

          🥺 :: I interpret as “cute, pleadfull” my girlfriend interprets as “sad”.

          😤 :: I interpret as “frustrated”, my girlfriend interprets as angry (a seemingly minor but important difference)

          💙💗💜♥️ :: I don’t know the distinction between these.

          🤐😶 :: I don’t know the distinction between these.

          🚃🚋 as above

          💂‍♀️💂💂🏻‍♂️ As above.

          If you ask me a question about a co-worker and I write down: 😅😶🥸 in reply.

          Am I claiming to know something but not say it, or am I stressed by what you’re saying and want to avoid it?

          As for other platforms, I can only speak to my experience talking to people on android, I don’t much feel like breaking out my old android device to show the difference, but the differences are well documented.

          There is a paper about this (that I just found: https://ojs.aaai.org/index.php/ICWSM/article/download/14901/14751/18420)

          Page 5 of this paper shows the glaring difference between emojis on windows vs other platforms: https://arxiv.org/pdf/1709.04969.pdf

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            😤 :: I interpret as “frustrated”, my girlfriend interprets as angry (a seemingly minor but important difference)

            Particularly funny since this emoji was originally named “Face with Look of Triumph”, which doesn’t match either interpretation :)

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              Great examples, thanks. I guess my friend group and I tend to naturally avoid these ambiguous emoji but you’re absolutely right that those are not clear, and that’s without the platform discrepancies.

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              The canonical example is the gun debacle.

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                Emoji feel a bit to me like someone else is choosing my language for me. The gun debacle is an obvious example, but also why is there a hamburger emoji but not a laksa emoji? Why is there not an erect penis emoji? And that’s not even going into the minefield of what something like U+1F45A [ Womens Clothes ] should mean and should be rendered as. Most platforms render that as a pink blouse ffs.

                And its not solvable - we’ll have to either keep on adding more and more emoji, or start reusing emoji (look at my enormous eggplant!).

                Bah humbug. Give me a smiley face, an alphabet (or equivalent) and a language to use them with.

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                GMails emoji are also awful and unbelievably ugly. Why they don’t use system emoji I’ve no idea…

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              Is one suggestion to fix a lot of this not: restrict yourself to an older and well-supported Unicode revision instead of using something preposterously new.

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                I feel like Unicode support for emoji is a mistake, but from what I understand, Japan (who invented emojis) wouldn’t officially support Unicode unless Unicode supported emojis.

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                  Basically every chat/messaging platform in history had invented some sort of way of including a variety of smilies/emoticons/whatever-term-you-like. Since they were clearly an integral part of written human communication, I don’t know why you’d expect Unicode to avoid them.

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                    Dingbat fonts were a thing. The Japanese weren’t the only ones using symbols in fonts.

                    Also, Google and Apple started using them before they became a standard. Emoji were a de-facto standard before they got added.