Emoji proposal for Person Pointing at Self
January 20, 2023
A while back I submitted a proposal to Unicode for a new emoji to represent “I” or “me”: Person Pointing at Self.
Given the ubiquity of this gesture around the world, I felt the value of this emoji was self-evident.
While this emoji proposal grew out of my tinkering on the Emojese emoji language, the emoji is language-independent; you could use it while texting in any language. If you open Emojese and turn on Experimental Emoji, you can try typing “I” or “me” in a sentence and see what it would be like to use Person Pointing at Self for this purpose.
Submitting an emoji proposal requires gathering a pile of data to address the emoji selection criteria. One criteria is durability: “Is the expected level of usage likely to continue into the future, or would it just be a fad?” There are examples of written hieroglyphs using this point-at-self gesture from ancient times. The Dongba script in southern China has been used for over 1000 years ago and is still in use today.
Your emoji proposal must also assess possible usage of your proposed emoji by comparing web search hit counts for the terms it represents against uses of the reference term “elephant”. Let’s see how searches for “I” and “me” stack up.
Hmm, the terms I/me are so incredibly popular that the baseline “elephant” term is indistinguishable from the x-axis. People talk about themselves more than anything else! This trend probably holds true across any time period or culture you care to examine — even the ones with lots of elephants.
An emoji intended to represent “I”/”me” doesn’t just beat any existing emoji proposal on usage and durability, it will likely beat all future proposals too.
Spoiler: the proposal was not accepted.