World Emoji Day was founded by Jeremy Burge, the founder of Emojipedia in 2014

Most of the growth in emoji usage began after Apple began to support emojis with the release of its iOS 5 operating system in 2011. Google Android quickly followed suit, and an international phenomenon was born.

July 17 was designated World Emoji Day because that is the date shown on the calendar emoji for Apple and Google users.

There are nearly 1800 emoji’s covering more than emotions. From food, transportation, an assortment of wild and domesticated animals to social platforms, weather and many emoji’s are available.

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Where did they come from?

The idea of emoticons — a typographic representation of a facial expression — is not new. What is new is their relative universality and their growing ubiquity.

The first digital use of emoticons is attributed to computer science professor Scott Fahlman, who noticed jokes on his department’s bulletin board at Carnegie Mellon University were falling flat or being misunderstood.

So, on September 19, 1982, Fahlman suggested people use a smiley face emoticon to indicate a joke and a frown face to indicate something was not meant as a joke.

Emoji — the actual pictograms you use on your smartphone — were born out of a similar frustration in Japan with the limits of text. Shigetaka Kurita created emoji — the word is a combination of the Japanese words for pictures and letters — for the Japanese telecom NTT DOCOMO.

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Dave Patterson is a content marketer. A writer by day and a reader by night. Coffee addict.