World Emoji Day is here, celebrating how a small collection of symbols became arguably the second language of the world.
While it started as nothing more than a few smiley faces, the emoticon language has grown to an almost bafflingly level of popularity, and rightly so.
Spurred on by the newly developed ability to instant message each other, emoji were a natural evolution from the text symbols we used to SMS each other on our Nokia 3310s.
The emoticon was so much more than that though, its limited library helped highlight the importance of personal and social identity and over the years it has grown to better represent the incredible diversity that exists in our species.
The most recent update allows smartphone companies to include gender neutral emoji for those who don’t wish to identify as either male of female.
In addition the people of Wales were finally granted the one emoji they had been asking for for years: The Welsh flag.
After a campaign by Jeremy Burge of Emojipedia and BBC Wales’ Owen Williams back in March 2016, the unicode consortium (the organisation that decides which emoji are allowed) finally agreed.
The addition of gender neutral emoji however is the latest in a long journey of inclusivity for the language.
In 2015 Apple finally unveiled that it would be updating its emoji to be more racially diverse, giving users even more representation.
A year after that it was announced that the consortium had updated the professions emoji to include male and female options.
This was one of the largest updates to the language and included a rainbow flag, new parenting options to include same-sex partners and a whole host of female athletes.
This year’s update includes some 69 new emoji including wizards, mermaids but also more serious additions including a breastfeeding emoji and a headscarf emoji.