Planet Emoji



I love to include emojis in my text messages, tweets, and Facebook posts. You may even have seen them creep into some of the professional posts I’ve written for The International Center on Twitter. I think that they add extra meaning to almost any message, and that they can convey a lighthearted sensibility that is often missing from written communication. Selecting the best emoji to suit a message comes as second nature to me. I barely need to think about it! Like many people, I imagine, my most-used emojis are the various smiles and hearts… but there are hundreds of emojis, and I have dozens of favorites!



It seems to me that the developers of emojis across platforms – iOS, Android, Windows, Twitter, and others – must have seriously taken into account a global perspective as they created their emoji libraries. There are many globally conscious emojis, including those representing various national flags and diverse human skin tones. Of all the the emojis with international flair, my favorites are those which compose the set of planet Earth emojis.



In every emoji language, there are three Earth emojis. Each one shows our planet from a different angle. One represents Asia and Australia. One represents Africa, the Middle East, and Europe. One represents the Americas. Together, these three emojis ensure that no user is left unrepresented within the emoji language.



I imagine that nearly every frequent user of emojis has a default Earth emoji that corresponds to their residence or place of origin. I know that mine is the Americas emoji. I am a Canadian citizen, and I live in the United States, so is it certainly the Americas emoji which represents my life and travel experience thus far. At a quick glance, the Americas emoji also presents to me the vision of the world with which I’m most familiar. Many maps produced for the United States and Canada favor the Americas, and often enlarge those continents and shrink the rest of the world. I think it would be fascinating to live somewhere else for long enough that I might begin to privilege an entirely new cartographic view of the planet.



Which Earth emoji is your go-to? In your mind’s eye, how does the Earth appear to you? Which angle most reflects your life experience? Your answers to these questions may point to the same view of the map, or to varied visual perspectives on our planet Earth. This multiplicity of views speaks to the wonderful diversity of mind present in our planet’s populace. The first step to success in international and intercultural communication – even through an emoji language! – is an awareness of, and willingness to embrace, the intellectual diversity of others.


By Ephraim Rudolph, Marketing & Communications Intern