Re: Emoji: emoticons vs. literacy

From: Curtis Clark (
Date: Sat Dec 27 2008 - 14:15:57 CST

On 2008-12-27 11:27, John Hudson wrote:
> ... The obvious thing to do
> is to liberate the truly open-set of emoji from the restrictions of
> standardised character encoding as understood by Unicode, and to let
> users create the set through communication with each other.
> We're looking at encoding a set of current emoji because some telecom
> companies are currently encoding these as text. But that encoding is, I
> believe, a temporary measure that ultimately cannot address what makes
> emoji desirable to users. I believe it will become obsolete very quickly.

This is, I think, the best argument against precipitous encoding: that
the technology is pretty much compelled to move beyond character codes.
Assuming it works out this way, I wonder if it won't be similar to the
control codes at U+0080–U+009F. At one point these seemed like a good
idea, but I imagine that any system that still implements them could
safely be called "legacy", and there are no plans to encode any more.

Nevertheless, there they sit, astride 32 code points of prime real
estate, with some proprietary standards mapping characters to them (e.g.
Windows CP-1252). They were even more significant when most character
implementations were 8-bit. And it probably couldn't have been done any
other way.

If Unicode were a huge library rather than a character encoding standard
that had constraints of size and scalability, I think there would be
less objection to encoding a lot of things that are resisted now. If the
encoded emoji end up as a technological backwater on a Supplemental
Symbolic Plane, that would be unfortunate, but certainly not the end of
the world.

Curtis Clark        
Director, I&IT Web Development                   +1 909 979 6371
University Web Coordinator, Cal Poly Pomona

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