We have a pizza and a taco emoji, sure, but isn’t it about time we add the dumpling—”one of the most universal cross-cultural foods in the world”—into the food-emoji lexicon?
The group behind the Dumpling Emoji Project argues that it is neither fair nor just how emojis are chosen.
“When we started looking into how emojis were determined, we were surprised by how the decision process was concentrated in a handful of multinational American tech corporations. When you see or send an emoji, that emoji has likely been voted upon by the Unicode Consortium and approved to be standardized across platforms.”
So, who votes on what emoji gets onto this universal lexicon? Well, there are currently 11 full voting members who pay $18,000 a year for the privilege. Eight of them are U.S. multinational tech companies: Oracle, IBM, Microsoft, Adobe, Apple, Google, Facebook, and Yahoo. The only other three full voting members are the German software company SAP, the Chinese telecom company Huawei and the government of Oman.
It can take well over 18 months for an emoji proposal to go through the full approval process, which includes also having to be approved ISO, yet another international standards body. The decision makers along the way are overwhelmingly male, overwhelming white and overwhelmingly engineers. They specialize in encoding. This is not the best process to decide a visual language that is now used globally.”
The Dumpling Emoji Project is launching a Kickstarter next week to raise funds to join the voting members at the UNICODE Consortium and get the dumpling into the emoji lexicon. What a noble cause.
If you can’t donate to the Kickstarter, you can always throw a “dumpling party” and start using the #dumplingemoji and #emojination hashtags to show your support.