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Facebook Is Testing Emoji Status Updates In Messenger

Social Media Week

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Attention emo kids: The away message might be making a comeback soon.

TechCrunch reports that Facebook is developing a feature called “Your Emoji” that would allow users to overlay an emoji of their choice on their Messenger profile picture for 24 hours.

The goal of the update? Make it easier for users to keep friends and family up to date on their everyday lives and facilitate more IRL hangouts by providing a means for broadcasting your status as available or open to plans to your friends. Slack users will already be familiar with this feature, as the company introduced similar functionality back in April 2017.

News of the test was initially broken by the WhatsApp blog WABetaInfo in a tweet, which contained a screenshot of the test and was shared with Social Media Director for the The Next Web, Matt Navarra.

A Facebook spokesperson has since confirmed the test with TechCrunch: “We’re testing the ability for people to add an emoji to their profile photo in Messenger to let their friends know what they’re up to or how they’re feeling in the moment. We’re interested to see if people enjoy this feature, but we don’t have any additional information to share at this time.”

Image via TechCrunch.

For now, tests of the tool are being restricted to Messenger’s “Active” tab, though it may very well expand elsewhere across the platform should the feedback be positive. Given the Messenger app currently boasts 1.3 billion monthly active users, it’s a logical place to start and arguably the best source for the most well-rounded response as to whether or not the tool would be widely received if globally rolled out.

Moreover, it is a move that ties in with Facebook’s recent announcement that it would be identifying and working on several ways to effectively tie Messenger into Facebook’s overall mission of building “meaningful” communities, whether that entail helping people more easily spend time together when they’re apart and unable to meet in-person or, make more plans to hang out IRL.

Not to mention, who among us wasn’t feeling simultaneous sentiments of loss and nostalgia when we learned that AIM would be shutting down last December? Killing two birds with one stone, Facebook could not only achieve its own business objectives but fill a void the vast majority of millennials were left with upon saying goodbye to AIM.

To hear more about Facebook’s 2018 plans and to further explore our global theme “Closer,” which will grapple with the intensifying conflict between community and individualism, join us at SMWNYC April 24-27. Register today and save 20%.

Social Media Week is a leading news platform and worldwide conference that curates and shares the best ideas, innovations and insights into how social media and technology are changing business, society and culture around the world.

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10 Facts About Emoji That Might Surprise You

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It’s hard to imagine emojis only hit the scene a mere six years ago with the unveiling of Apple iOS 5. In that time, they’ve rapidly become adopted as a ubiquitous digital language employed by users all around the world and continue to grow in influence as an important opportunity for brands to convey their stories in universal and relevant ways.

At Social Media Week London, creative communications agency Village will host a session titled, “The Evolution of Language,” featuring leading experts with backgrounds in fashion, social media, and linguistics who will address how digital languages, like emoji, are fundamentally changing culture and the way humans interact with each other.

Speakers will delve into the various ways language has evolved throughout the digital age, how new languages came to be, and how marketers can employ digital vernacular to increase audience engagement. They’ll also share insight surrounding creative narrative shortcuts and what language might look like in the future, centering on the general question of whether the coming innovation will do more harm than good.

To get you prepared for the session on Sept. 13, here are 10 facts about emojis that might surprise you:

  1. The first emoji was created by Shigetaka Kurita in Japan in 1999.
  2. The first World Emoji Day was celebrated July 17, 2014.
  3. There 2,666 emojis in the Unicode Standard list as of July 2017.
  4. 60 billion emojis are sent on Facebook every day as of July 2017.
  5. Emoji usage in marketing messages has increased at an annual growth rate of over 775 percent as of 2016.
  6. In a ranking of the world’s top 10 used emojis on Facebook, the laughing with tears emoji, the heart eyes emoji, and the kissy face emoji were top three as of July 2017.
  7. An afro hairstyle, a bagel, and hands making a heart were among the top emoji requests as of June 2017.
  8. 76 percent of Americans said that they have used emojis at work as of February 2016.
  9. As of February 2016, 78 percent of women claimed to be frequent emoji users compared to 60 percent when it comes to their male counterparts.
  10. This past April, marketing firm Crowdtap conducted a Brand Emoji Index asking employees to rank their favorite brands using only emojis. Apple, Googl, and Microsoft were among the top three indicated by the heart eyes emoji, the sunglasses-wearing emoji and the standard smiling face emoji respectively.

Register here and get your pass to Social Media Week London from September 11-15.  Can’t attend this session in person?  Join SMW Insider and watch the live-stream! Activate your free trial here.

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