I believe that emojis are slowly — but surely — changing the world. Actually, not all that slowly. In fact, by any measure I can think of, a purple vegetable meaning eggplant one day, and becoming a global symbol for a penis the next, is a wildfire cultural phenomenon. For a meme to spread that far and also deeply root itself in the public consciousness is dramatically fast.
I’m enthralled with those little faces and all their pixel-born brethren. So much so that I flew to SF last year just to attend EmojiCon. You don’t need to click through. It’s exactly what it sounds like. And it was amazing.
I learned so much about what emojis are, where they come from, and the fascinating community nurturing (and pruning) them into existence. I learned that with each annual release of the world’s fastest growing language we see a snapshot of universal internet culture, and a tool to build richer connections between people. I learned that communities of all sorts — from redheads to breastfeeding ladies — fight for emoji representation, world-renowned companies like Apple make political and cultural statements through the universal language, and people from all over the world create new meanings with their own languages though this symbolic standard.
And I learned that they’re fun. That, as a communication tool, they’re playful and interpretive, giving them intriguing opportunities for subtlety and metaphor.
So the team and I spent significant time hacking away, trying to explore the potential of the medium. And then Camo came up with an idea. If emojis are the universal language, why not make them the bridge between two traditional languages? But, why stop there? Emojis could fundamentally be the Rosetta Stone for people trying to learn all sorts of languages. And so Emojistone was born.
We created EmojiStone as a way to play with language. It’s like the frisbee of language learning. If you’re trying to get super fit — go do crossfit religiously. If you want to run around, have fun with friends and smile more than usual, we might have something for you.
EmojiStone is available for free on the App Store for ages 4 and up. It currently supports Spanish, English, German, Italian, and Portuguese.