For those who struggle in business correspondences to find just the right way to say, "I feel lazy and want to dive into a small stack of garlic waffles," then your problems are over. Soon, you will be able to say it with emojis.

Unicode Consortium, the organization responsible for developing and distributing the abundance of emojis we all have come to love (and hate), will be introducing an additional 59 new base emojis to a list that already includes over 2,800, according to emojipedia.org. When you consider the additional gender and skin variations of this new release, the actual total number of new emojis is closer to 230.

This newest round includes several emojis that add a much needed element of diversity and inclusion, including:

  • Man and woman in wheelchairs

  • A wheelchair

  • Man and woman in motorized wheelchairs

  • A motorized wheelchair

  • Man and woman with probing stick (sight impairment)

  • Prosthetic arm

  • Prosthetic leg

  • Guide dog

  • Service dog

The new set also features emojis of two people holding hands, including a man and woman, two men and two women. For more diversity, you can even select different skin colors for each person holding hands.

And while inclusion seems to have been a central theme, there was no shortage of interesting additions, including a host of new animals, such as a flamingo, sloth, and orangutan -- because apparently we really needed an emoji for a flamingo, sloth and orangutan.

Maybe the most interesting part of this research has been understanding how the Unicode Consortium decides on new emojis, a process that starts out as an extensive proposal process. When you read the proposals, it is really interesting -- and quite entertaining -- to see how many people people were truly concerned that there yet existed an oyster, skunk and orangutan emoji.

And while new emojis will continue to be introduced, I struggle to resist their evolution into our business communications. Moreover, as digital natives will soon be entering the workforce, they are sure to bring with them a propensity for emojis that derives from (smiling happy face emoji) being a ubiquitous part of their lives.

And maybe this is not such a bad thing. I am a proud, card-carrying member of the X-Generation, so we are used to breaking molds and paradigms. And even as I get older and set in my ways, and especially now that I am mentoring and teaching the next generation of business leaders, I feel the urge to resist the obligation to keep them from our correspondences. The fact, sad or not, is that it is an emoji world, and we're just living in it.

We all have some time to think more about this, as this new and arguable laudable emoji extension will not be available until fall, when Android and iOS typically release major updates to their mobile operating system. In the meantime, I am going to spend some time getting better acquainted with emojis, and for now --  

What do you think about the new release of emojis? Share your thoughts with me on Twitter.

Published on: Feb 8, 2019
Like this column? Sign up to subscribe to email alerts and you'll never miss a post.