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Emoji are, by any measure, the greatest sociological, technological and spiritual achievement of the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Invented in Japan in the '90s as a kind of advancement for text-based smileys, smartphones like the iPhone and Android devices popularized the Unicode characters to the point that now they're constantly advancing to suit the needs of... every single person on the planet. Seriously. Do you remember when your parents started texting you with emoji unironically? We live in the Emoji Era. The Emoji Age. This is the dawning of the Age of Emojiokus.

The only downside to emoji is that sometimes their meaning can be nebulous, causing confusion or even a misunderstanding between sender and receiver. Occasionally a literal icon for, say, a benign food item can be commandeered by meme-sters for fun or even nefarious purposes. Can't an eggplant just be an eggplant?! But emoji misuses can easily be avoided by tirelessly obsessing over trending topics on Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, Snapchat and half dozen other social networks. Easy, right? Know your memes and emoji in peace.

 

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