EmojiDay 2018: The politics of emoji

Tyler Schnoebelen
Jul 17, 2018 · 2 min read

It’s World Emoji Day! 📆 People will tell you that they are ruining language or that it’s becoming a new universal language. Both of these are wrong but FASCINATING because they put a spotlight on people’s ideology.

While the slides shared below do talk about the problems of apocalyptic discourse on emoji and dismiss the idea that emoji are going to be a language, it’s more about how emoji become a site for politics — who gets included, who doesn’t, who is told to use them, who is told they shouldn’t.

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Some of the 873 journalists included in the study
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Men on the political right adhere to gender stereotypes the most

But ideology doesn’t just influence how people talk about emoji, it seems to influence how they use them. In the slides below from a keynote I gave at Emoji2018, I show how 870+ journalists from left, right and center use emoji.

The main things to note are that if you take a stance of being in the center (“objectivity”), you probably aren’t going to use many emoji — that makes sense, emoji are very much about self-expression. Note that the more you talk about “Trump”, the less likely you are to use emoji, too.

Of greater note is how gender does and doesn’t come into play: if you’re a conservative male journalist you really adhere to notions that say emoji-aren’t-for-you. If you’re a celebrity male, you’re perfectly happy using oodles of emoji, as with Snoop Dogg, Kyle MacLachlan, DJ Khaled, William Shatner, Diplo, and Chad Johnson.

Check out the whole presentation here:

From a keynote at Emoji2018 on the politics of emoji

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