The It's Nice That Podcast investigates the digital phenomenon of the emoji

4 January 2017

The second episode of The It’s Nice That Podcast is available now for your audible delight. In this episode It’s Nice That founders Alex Bec and Will Hudson discuss the recent IOS update which graced iPhones with a new emoji selection. In response, Alex and Will discuss whether using emojis is a lazy alternative to the written word, or if they are constructed picture messages that take our care and attention.

To decipher this they enlist the help of emoji intelligence experts, starting with Scott Fahlman a research professor at Carnegie Mellon University. Scott is credited as the inventor of the first emoji, as he proposed using punctuation as the first sideways emoticon back in 1982. This is followed by a discussion with Marcel Danesi, a professor in linguistics at The University of Toronto and author of The Semiotics of Emoji. Despite not actually using emojis himself he “found it to be absolutely fascinating,” he explains. “We are not dealing with a passing fad of popular culture of the global age, it is actually a new form of writing that has emerged and we must take it seriously.”

To round up the discussion Alex and Will speak to founder of Emojipedia, Jeremy Burge. Emojipedia allows you to search phrases and find the appropriate emoji to use. Additionally Jeremy is a member of the emoji committee at Unicode and provides a helpful insight for listeners on the process of getting your emoji ideas onto iPhone screens.

Listen to the podcast in full on Radio Wolfgang.

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About the Author

Lucy Bourton

Lucy (she/her) joined It’s Nice That as a staff writer in July 2016 after graduating from Chelsea College of Art. In January 2019 she was made deputy editor and in November 2021, became a senior editor predominantly working on It’s Nice That's partnerships. Feel free to get in contact with Lucy about creative projects for the site or potential partnerships.

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