The presentation of the pictogrammatic “self” and persona: Emoji’s historical emergence and proliferation in digital culture

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Abstract

This article focuses on the history of emoji. From the identifiable smiley face from the 1960s and 1970s to the computer and early Internet culture of using emoticons, it describes how this form of communication filled certain gaps in our structure of conveying sentiment and feeling and works at the construction of a constructed persona of the self in contemporary culture. Connected to this study is the historical connection to pictograms and character-based languages; in that analysis and its linguistic emphasis, the article concludes with the possibility that the development of emoji helps us understand how language and its rearticulation in “text” and “image” has worked to produce collective and common meanings. Research into the differences in written languages – from alphanumeric structures to hieroglyphs and character-based systems – is integrated intopositioning emoji and their collective meaning systems. The article concludes with a comprehensive reading of how emoji – in its massive migration and integration from its Japanese imagistic origins to its now routine play in across a myriad of cultures - constructs a strategic form of communication that conveys a tactical expression of self and our persona in and through digital culture.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)52-70
Number of pages19
JournalPersona Studies
Volume9
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 19 Dec 2023

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