Steve Jobs World Emoji DayMacworld Conference on July 17, 2002

This will be the fourth year that the World Emoji Day will be celebrated by millions of people around the globe. Enough time has passed to wonder if the selected date is indeed the most appropiate to pay tribute to the emoji world. In case you still don't know why was chosen the 17th of July, this date was the one selected on the calendar emoji of the most known set of emoticons, the Apple one that got global reach thanks specially to its inclusion in Whatsapp. And Apple selected that date because it was the one corresponding to the Macworld Conference of 2002 where was presented for first time the iCal, a personal calendar application for the mac operating system.

It is quite undeniable the importance of the Apple set in extending the use and fame of this new language, and if anyone thinks of a date related with emojis, probably this one would be the most recalled date. But if we meditate about it, this may feel quite unfair with the emoji origins, to have selected a date in which nothing related with them really happened. It would have been fairer to select a date related with Google, the driving company for the inclusion of emojis into Unicode with their project emoji4unicode headed by Markus Scherer, Mark Davis and Kat Momoi. But the set of Google has not been so famous as the one of Apple, besides Google did not even select a real date in the first versions of their calendar emoji, it only showed a misterious 12 that nobody seems to know where it comes from, although the answer might result simpler than it seems.

There are currently three calendar emojis but only two were incorporated initially to Unicode 6.0 in 2010, and both of them were created by the japanese company KDDI. Neither Softbank nor NTT DoCoMo replicated them. These were the calendar (U+1F4C5) and the tear-off calendar (U+1F4C6). In the first versions of these emojis, it was not easy to clearly recognize a calendar in the designs. So in the 2003 update, KDDI decided to add the number 12 marking the number of months and helping this way to identify it as a calendar. It was reflected in the same way at the draft of the Unicode design and was later adopted by Google in their first versions of the calendar emoji. Therefore, Google never indicated any special date in their emojis, so we are not sure if they would have liked to highlight any of the multiple dates related to the project emoji4unicode, without which we'd not be celebrating this colourful date.

KDDI Calendar Emojis© 2000-2012 KDDI Calendar Emojis

The most notorious date in the process to unify emojis into Unicode, would then be the day in which the version 6.0 of Unicode was finally published: October 1, 2010. That was the starting point which made the emojis a global phenomenon. And in case we wanted to be more righteous and accurate with the japanese origins of these adorable icons, I would point out November 1, 1997, the date when the first emoji set in a mobile phone was released. 10/1 or 11/1, besides being two really round figures, are also the two most important dates in the emoji history.

Well, now let's just try to convince to those thousands of people (last year there were more than 250k messages related to #WorldEmojiDay just in Twitter) that they are celebrating it in a wrong date. I guess nobody will care at all and, let me tell you, much less myself. I wrote the article because as a blogger (not the innocuos type) of the emoji world, I think it was worth to be explained in depth and to research for other more important dates. But I've never been the kind of person who goes crazy for anniversaries. I've always tried to live under the dogma "Carpe Diem" pronounced by the Roman poet Horace. What most people don't know about these illustrious words is that they were said 23 years after the Julian calendar was introduced. Horace, probably tired of the new fashion to celebrate anniversaries and ephemeris, tried to awaken the minds of his contemporaries. And lucky him that he did not get to know Valentine's Day, St. Patrick's Day, Christmas or the Groundhog Day because he would have been even more convincing. Do we really need an special date to celebrate once a year the existence of emojis? In my case I'd just say "enjoy each day and dream each tomorrow".

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