It’s #WorldEmojiDay. But what’s it all about?

July 17th is the unofficial celebration of the smartphone smiley faces and tears of joy

Photograph: iStock

Photograph: iStock


World what day?

World Emoji Day. July 17th has been designated World Emoji Day, and is a general celebration of all things emoji and emoji-related. It’s marked by emoji events and releases, such as Apple unveiling its latest additions to the iOS lineup.


Those little faces and icons you use in your messages to make them seem more interesting. Smiley faces, angry people, fruit and some rude gestures. You know the ones.

And who decided this exactly?

World Emoji Day is an unofficial celebration dating back to the hallowed days of 2014. It’s the brainchild of Emojipedia founder and all-round emoji expert Jeremy Burge.

Unofficial. That sounds suspiciously like I’m not getting a day off.

Of course not. It’s completely made up. It’s like Valentine’s Day, but you aren’t getting flowers or chocolate either, before you ask.

Not even a card?

Nope. We can offer you a “face with tears of joy” though. That’s the most popular emoji according to Twitter and facebook. Personally, we find it a bit annoying, but who are we to go against the will of the people on this important matter?

Where did emoji come from?

There’s a long heritage there, all the way back to the 20th century. In the late 90s, the first emoji was created in Japan by Shigetaka Kurita, part of the NTT DoCoMo i-mode team. Now there around 2,800 emojis, and they can be found everywhere from your text messages to Whatsapp to status updates on Twitter and Facebook.

How popular are they?

Very, if usage figures on Twitter alone are anything to go by. The company said 250 million emojis are sent every month on Twitter, which adds up to 3.2 billion per year. That’s a lot of sad faces, smiley faces and small fires being shared every year.

On Facebook, more than 900 million emojis are sent every day on Facebook Messenger, without any other text.

Why are they so popular?

We’re all busy people and emojis are so much quicker than typing LOL. Or space restrictions in messengers means you can save precious characters. Or, a picture paints a thousand words. Take your pick.

Any plans for today?

Well, Google is currently doing an Emoji Scavenger Hunt that you can do on your phone. And Apple unveiled its new emojis earlier today. If you are a Kim Kardashian-West fan, she’s doing something with Kimojis (yes, that’ a real thing) and a new fragrance. Plus there is a premiere of Emojiland the Musical in New York later. If it’s anything like the Emoji movie though, we’ll give it a miss.