An Open Letter to Platforms That Use Emojis
Moneythink’s take on provisioning Emojis responsibly
To those who provision emojis,
Thank you for the work you are doing. You have provided so many people with a fun and convenient way to express themselves in digital conversation. With so many users flocking to your platform at an ever-increasing rate, you’ve made it easy for individuals and brands to convey ideas to their family and friends, clients and colleagues.
To provide such a simple yet powerful means for people to express themselves is quite a privilege.
And because you provide for so many people — a delightfully heterogeneous medley of humankind — you have taken on a responsibility to furnish emojis representative of all the identities and experiences of such a gloriously vast array of humanity.
Are you doing enough?
Here’s our assessment: You’re pretty well-established at this point, at least in terms of brand recognition and daily active users. Your business is doing quite well, fending off competitors while maintaining a solid foothold in your realm of the marketplace. And thus, with such a magnitude of power and influence, you have this tremendous opportunity to improve the inclusivity of your emoji selection.
In your current emoji selection, there is a patent lack of representation for so many folks: for the People of Color whose hair colors and skin tones are not yellow-white, for those who cannot conform to the proffered gender binaries of cis-male and cis-female, for those whose partners and families are not mono-ethnicities or do not look like hetero-norms.
For this exquisite assortment of users, your current emoji selection can feel quite exclusionary.
And so you have before you this magnificent opportunity to improve it.
Now, it’s possible that you don’t yet have a design team dedicated to the care-taking of your emojis.
Let’s talk about that.
When it comes to the question of whether to outsource emoji creation or to manage your emojis in-house, you of course must take business concerns into account. And although your initial thought might be “Emojis are not our business,” let’s challenge that reaction by expanding on a conviction you hold most dear: is it not your business to change the world?
As a corporation, is it not your mission — your business — to change the world? As an individual, is it not your ambition — your business — to change the world?
So if your business is indeed to change the world, then begin here: wield your influence in the realm of emojis. Change the world by changing the emoji selection that you provision.
You have an enormous power to impact the lives of so many people in such profound ways, as this impact is compounded and magnified by your platform’s daily use. So it would be revolutionary for you to manage your own emoji offerings, to make small, deliberate changes to your emoji selection, and to see that change resonate, like ripples of influence ever-expanding across our globalized world.
So here is our invitation to you, the people who provision emojis:
Take responsibility for the emoji selection that you provision: acknowledge your power and seek to make your selection more inclusive.
Seize this opportunity to change the world. Make decisions and prioritize work that you can be proud of. Embrace critique and leverage it to become better. Set aside perfection in favor of effective, intentional action.
Move with courage, even if — and especially when — you’re the first to move in that direction.
Let’s take radical ownership of our power, and co-create the world in which we want to live.
The Moneythink Team