ONE SMALL STEP FOR EMOJI...
Ever try to describe something close to your heart — a rare object, a fleeting phenomenon, a foreign concept — only to discover that the precise word has managed to escape from memory, or doesn’t exist at all?
That is precisely how it felt to navigate an emoji keyboard without a dumpling emoji. This vast landscape already includes a blowfish, a slot machine, and a crystal ball. It differentiates between a movie ticket and a concert ticket, and vertical and horizontal traffic lights. It’s a place where peaches and eggplants don’t always refer to produce. Without a way to depict pierogis, momos, and the dozens of dumpling variations that pop up around the world, something felt lacking.
Language rarely conforms to the individual: With the rare exceptions of J.K. Rowling and Homer Simpson, it’s challenging for a person to single-handedly introduce new words into the collective vocabulary. But the tech industry is at its best when it becomes a marketplace of ideas. The brainstorming that lends itself to driverless cars and a Boring Company is one that will entertain proposals for new emojis, while the fast-moving pace all but guarantees that it will actually come to life if approved.
After multiple proposal drafts and flights across multiple timezones, the dumpling emoji has come to being!
In fact, the dumpling has already arrived on Twitter, Facebook and can be seen on Android in beta. We have not yet seen it on iOS yet. (Note that Facebook decided to go with a “soup dumpling” style, which the official dumpling emoji designer does not approve of).
With that, there is now a way to express pelmeni, kreplach, empanadas, and of course, dumplings. And also: fortune cookie, takeout box, and chopsticks. This might feel small in the grand scheme of things. But it’s one small step that we, with our collective talents of writing, designing, lobbying and racking up airline miles, felt that we could take to foster inclusion, representation and richer forms of expression in our emoji keyboards. And, we hope, in yours.
This particular battle is over, but the war wages on. We have taken the Emojination rallying cry of “Emoji by the People, for the People” to other areas — opening up the emoji nomination process for Unicode 11.
On the heels of celebrating a vibrant, ever-evolving country that has the good sense to protect freedom of speech, we will continue to seek new ways to support expression, inclusion, and representation. And always, dumplings.