“The Unicode Consortium” may sound like the dark cabal of villains in a James Bond movie. And though they aren’t plotting world domination in a volcano lair, they do hold a lot of power — over your text messages.
The Unicode Consortium’s job has always been to make basic symbols work across all computers and other devices, but the emoji has put the group at the center of pop culture.
“Our goal is to make sure that all of the text on computers for every language in the world is represented,” Unicode Consortium co-founder and president Mark Davis tells NPR’s Rachel Martin. “But we get a lot more attention for emojis than for the fact that you can type Chinese on your phone and have it work with another phone.”
The Consortium announced earlier this month that they are considering 67 new emojis to be released next summer.
“It’s actually a bit of a new thing for us,” Davis says. “We get a lot of requests — we get requests from individuals … but what we really like is for people to produce evidence for why this would be a popular and useful emoji.”
He says the ones that will get the most usage have highest priority. And Drake will have to stay a meme, because they don’t accept living persons, deities or logos.
“A lot of these are pretty spurious,” he adds. “I mean there are some older characters, for example. We got a lot of characters in from the original Japanese set. The original Japanese set had I think 722 characters and a lot of those were, let’s say, quirky.”
As for Davis’ personal emoji use? “I’m a user who uses emoji to accent,” he says.