Emoji countdown: The top ten of 2021

Do you use emoji? Duh! Of course you do - and so do 92% of world’s online population. We all have our personal favourites. But which ones are the world's favourites?

Before the big reveal, you might be wondering: Exactly who are the judges of this digital popularity contest?

The answer: The mysterious “Unicode Consortium” - the California-based not-for-profit group responsible for digitising the world’s writing systems, both modern and ancient.

And btw, there are a heck of a lot more than you might imagine. The current tally? 159 and counting - which is great news for anybody thinking about sending a text message in Cypro-Minoan, Old Uyghur, Tangsa, Toto or Vithkuqi. 

The Unicode Consortium also encodes numbers, punctuation, mathematical and musical symbols, game symbols, and pretty much any other symbol you can think of. (And many that you can’t.)

But wait, there’s more. Because The Unicode Consortium is also the keeper of the keys to the Emoji universe (insert praying hands here) - currently numbering 3,663 (insert wide-eyed face here).

It’s the body tasked with the momentous responsibility of selecting new emojis to add to our digital palettes. To do so, the Consortium solicits proposals from the public, but the final anointing of a new image is based on three criteria:

  1. Will the image work at the small size at which emoji are commonly used? 
  2. Does the emoji add to what can be said using emoji or can the idea be expressed using existing emoji?
  3. Is there substantial evidence that a large number of people will likely use this new emoji?

Among the contestants currently under consideration for 2022 are a “shaking face” (to indicate shock or earthquake), “pushing hands” (think refusal or wait) and “maracas” (celebrate).

OK, enough with the preliminaries. Let’s get on with the show! They say a picture is worth a thousand words so without further ado, behold this year’s winners, in order:

😂 ❤️ 🤣 👍 😭 🙏 😘 🥰 😍 😊.

The number-one in this year’s line-up, “tears of joy,” extends its winning streak from the last time data was published in 2019. This year, it accounted for over 5% of all emoji use. The only other character to come close is the dear, dependable loveheart. 

Another fun fact: The top 100 emojis comprise 82% of total emoji shares. But there are 3,663 to choose from. Even the Unicode Consortium is 🤔 about that!

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Topics: Cyber Bullying, Parental Controls, Screen time, Mobile Apps, Excessive Device Usage, online safety, emoji

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