It can be a notoriously difficult process to get a new emoji approved by the Unicode Consortium — the creators and gatekeepers of all things emoji — but a new app seeks to give the texting public a voice in the decision. The emoji request app released by EmojiXpress allows users to vote for pictographs that they would most like to see added to the emoji lexicon. Since their creation approximately 17 years ago, emojis have become intrinsic to digital communication. The tiny pictographs help us to convey what we are thinking and feeling more accurately — easily expressing the tone of a text, and adding a sense of playfulness to a message. The emoji keyboard is so popular that a 2015 report released by marketing startup Emogi found that 92 percent of the online community uses emojis.
If you believe there is a necessary emoji missing from the current lineup, you can download the free keyboard app Emoji on iTunes. The app displays images of all the emojis in the running (that would meet Unicode’s standards) as well as the number of requests they have received. Of the 147 currently in contention, only the ones with the highest number of votes will be turned into proposals by EmojiXpress and submitted for Unicode’s review.
While the app is in no way endorsed by Unicode, EmojiXpress has high hopes for the proposals. "We are a voting member of Unicode and intend to create well-formed Emoji proposals for the most requested Emojis," EmojiXpress states on their website. "We understand the process well and think that these proposals will have a good chance of being approved." Of course, it is up to Unicode whether or not these popular images deserve a place next to Smiley Poop and Red Dress Lady in the hallowed lexicon.
The current crowd favorite is the "Hush" emoji, with over 5,500 votes. The "fingers crossed" emoji trails some 1,000 votes behind in second place, and the "swearing" emoji is a close third. There is a range of excellent suggestions including a "mind-blown" emoji (named "exploding" emoji), which I can see being very useful. An "in love" emoji and marijuana leaf emoji are also climbing the charts. To vote for your favorites, simply click on your emoji of choice, and select "request." Votes can be logged via the EmojiRequest website as well, though the site will ask you for some Facebook data in return.
Some of the emojis listed on the app have already been approved as part of the Unicode 9 report for 2016, but have not made their way to our phones yet. Microsoft, Google, and Apple are rolling out these 72 emoji additions slowly, and some of them will not be available on all platforms (I'm looking at you, bacon emoji!). My recommendation? Do not waste votes on black heart, fingers crossed (currently in the #2 spot), or clown, as we may see these coming to our keyboards in 2016! Mime emoji, on the other hand...