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Have emojis changed the world? Show more Show less

In just two decades, emoji has become ‘the fastest growing language in history’. But are there more complex implications to their popularity? With more than 92% of internet users now using emojis, and billions used every day, do the simple digital pictograms have wider implications for society, relationships and even the way we're hardwired?

No, the impact of emojis is exaggerated. Show more Show less

The growth in emoji use is part of the much more transformative digital revolution. Emojis are impactful insofar as they enhance (or diminish) existing forms of communication. However, they have no revolutionary impact in and of themselves.
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Emojis are modern day hieroglyphics.

From ancient times, humans have always used images to communicate. Emojis are just the latest iteration.
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communication emojis hieroglyphics history language


Humans have used images in written communication for thousands of years, with the earliest forms of pictographs dating back to 3300-3200 BC.

The Argument

Using pictures to express ideas in written communications is not a revolutionary, new idea. In fact, it dates back to the earliest languages. Emojis are therefore just the latest incarnation of this linguistic component.

Counter arguments

Hieroglyphics is a written language, where letters are represented by images. Emoji is not a written language. The images in hieroglyphic language are therefore more akin to our alphabet(s).



[P1] Pictures have always been essential to written communication [P2] Emojis are the current manifestation of pictograms in language

Rejecting the premises

[Rejecting P2] There is no connection between hieroglyphics and emojis. Hieroglyphics are legitimate characters that take the place of letters of the alphabet, which emojis are not.


Further Reading


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    This page was last edited on Sunday, 1 Dec 2019 at 17:26 UTC