A Brief History of the Emote
Believe it or not, emotes have been around for almost fifty years. Their first documented use was in 1982 by a computer scientist named Scott Fahlman. Since those first simple emotes, the options have become infinite.
Emote is short for emoticon or emotional icon, depending on who you’re talking to. You use them to convey context for your written messages; these days, they’re a critical component of online communication.
A History Lesson
Back in 1982, Dr. Fahlman used the simple “:-)” and “:-(“ to convey context to his messages at Carnegie Melon University. Bach then, there were no emoticon packs, but the trend quickly caught on and evolved into emoticons as you currently use them.
Over time, new emoticons entered normal usage, like the winking face. The standard set of widely understood emoticons kept growing as people began to add more context and share their creations.
The emoji emerged in the late 1990s and early 2000s. The word itself comes from the Japanese words for picture and character. Emoji packs revolutionized emotes since they offered much more detailed expressions and activities.
In 2010, the Unicode Consortium began standardizing what’s referred to as character encoding. Today, this allows you to use the same keys to get the same emotes across multiple platforms without thinking about it. Talk about a change in communication!
Today’s Emote Packs
Today’s emote was propelled into common use by social media and continues gaining fans. Not only did the platforms feature instant emote buttons (i.e. the Facebook like), but they also allowed you to use the emotes across the platform.
Some platforms go beyond the basic options offered in the Unicode Standard. Twitch, for example, is packed full of unique emojis you only see there. These emote packs often feature community-specific content that enhances the experience.
Popular platforms for unique emotes include Twitch, Discord, and Slack. However, new platforms are constantly emerging. Who knows which platforms and emote packages will be the next big trend?