Emojis and other adversities: water gun yes, stage diving no

Which emoji goes with whom? And to yourself? A question that is much more existential than it first appears.

Around 3500 emojis are in unicode right now and the only firearm is a water pistol Photo: Westeind61/imago

Recently I fell into an abyss of digital life again. Someone told me, actually casually, finally, finally for a Signature- Emoji to have decided. um what? That’s what I thought at first. Until I understood a second later: An emoji that you put under Messenger messages when no other content is in the foreground. And that gets to the heart of your own personality in the usual funny-thoughtful-ironic-casual network response attitude.

In any case, the selection is a real challenge – and quite unironically. After all, many emojis are anything but unique. For example the smiley that smiles upside down. Does he now stand for irony? For laughing-balls-on-the-ground, which only someone writes ROFL who haven’t found the icon for the emoji selection yet? Or did the sender just want a smiling face and found the numerous others too boring?

And if even a simple laugh emoji can trigger doubts – then what about the wink face? The various hearts? With the eggplant? And the chili pepper? Especially since most emojis are displayed differently – depending on whether the users use them in the browser, on Android, Apple, Facebook, Gmail or one of the many other services.

An evening-long debate could be held just about the different representations of the nail polish emoji. Red, pink or purple? The hand straight or at an angle? And why isn’t there a color and hand shape that’s a bit more non-binary?

It’s a lot easier then Signature-Emojis to find for others. Olaf Scholz, for example, gets the good old wall made of red bricks. Nancy Faeser is allowed to take over the surveillance eye from her predecessors of the interior minister and the FDP finance minister clearly signals his no with crossed arms from afar, before he has even heard the question.

Ghost versus Robot

The lit bomb actually belonged to RWE, but because that is not possible in these times, the smoking ban sign has to serve. The 49-euro ticket deserves the hourglass, and capitalism has long since exchanged the ghost for the robot. The face of the earth would melt, which is why the only thing left for the housing markets in major German cities is what has turned red from the heat.

Around 3,500 emojis are currently in Unicode – so it’s all the more exciting to see what’s not there. A stagediving emoji? Is missing. Just like a wind turbine. How is Robert Habeck supposed to be happy? Also not included: the Merkel diamond. It is of course inadmissible to draw conclusions about the digital policy significance of the former chancellor.

After all: Not only is wind power not included, coal and nuclear power plants are also missing. But there are two real dinosaurs – which in most depictions look more cuddly than dangerous. And the only gun is a water gun.

Incidentally, the selection of new emojis is made by the Unicode consortium. The big tech companies in particular have the say in this. In other words, corporations that only become active in terms of algorithms, transparency, hate speech and better moderation when the pressure from politics and society becomes too great. How good that they can play with cute dinosaurs and pink painted fingernails in a bit of a nice world.