The creation and early development of emojis dates back to 1999 in Japan, and is attributed to Japanese telecommunications planner and then-NTT DoCoMo employee Shigetaka Kurita, who sketched illustrations after coming up with the idea of adding simple images to NTT DoCoMo’s texting feature. When Apple released the first iPhone in 2007, there was an emoji keyboard intended for Japanese users only However, after iPhone users in the United States discovered that downloading Japanese apps allowed access to the keyboard, pressure grew to expand availability of the emoji keyboard beyond Japan, and in 2011, Apple made it an iOS international standard. Global popularity of emojis then surged in the early to mid-2010s The Face with Tears of Joy emoji as it appears on Twitter
In the mid-2010s, the emoji became mainstream; on June 5, 2014, FiveThirtyEight noted that the “Face with Tears of Joy” emoj ❤️was the second most used emoji on the Twitter platform, appearing in 278+ million tweets, only behind the “Hearts” emoji (♥️)’s 342+ million figure Oxford University Press partnered with the mobile technology business SwiftKey to explore frequency and usage statistics for global popular emoji usage, detailing that in 2015, 😂 was chosen as Oxford Dictionaries’ Word of the Year because it was the most used emoji, globally, in that respective year. In a blog post, Oxford Dictionaries expressed that the emoji “was chosen as the ‘word’ that best reflected the ethos, mood, and preoccupations of 2015. SwiftKey further detailed that the emoji made up 20% of all the emojis used in the UK in 2015, and 17% of those in the US, up from 4% and 9% respectively, in 2014. Oxford Dictionaries president Caspar Grathwohl explained Oxford’s choice, stating, “emoji are becoming an increasingly rich form of communication, one that transcends linguistic borders.
On World Emoji Day 2017, Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg shared the ten most used emojis on the Facebook platform; the Face with Tears of Joy emoji ranked #1 globally, as well as in United Kingdom.The emoji was also one of the top three most used globally on Facebook’s Messenger app Also during the observance, SwiftKey announced that the emoji was the most used in the United Kingdom during 2016. In 2017, Time reported that for the third consecutive year the emoji “[reigned] supreme on social media”.
Twitter users voted this as the most popular emoji “of all time” in 2017, granting it the Lifetime Achievement Award in Emojipedia’s annual World Emoji Awards announced on the trading floor of the New York Stock Exchange for World Emoji Day.