There is now a conference for emojis

Simple smile. Slightly smiling face. Cat heart eyes. See no evil. Emoji conference 2016. 🎟

Emoji your heart ❤️ out at Emojicon, the first-ever “conference” for emoji aficionados, taking place in San Francisco 🌉 in November.✈️

Because you can never have enough emojis, the conference is a multi-day celebration hosted by the California College of the Arts and features speakers like Mark Davis, 👨🏾president of Unicode and co-chair of the Unicode Emoji Subcommittee as well as other policy makers like Jeremy Burge, founder of Emojipedia.

The organizers of the conference are Jeanne Brooks, Jennifer 8. Lee  and Yiying Lu. Lee and Lu are the founders of “Emojination,” a grassroots campaign that works with the Unicode emoji subcommittee and is a driving force 👊 behind the campaign to get a dumpling emoji.

Hence fast-food chain Panda Express, 🐼in whose interest it is to have dumpling emojis, is one of the sponsors 💰 of the Emojicon. Other sponsors and exhibitors include GE, which runs a program called Emoji Science, Adobe and Baidu, which has its own set of emoji caricatures.

The goal of the conference is twofold: to teach oldsters 👵🏻 how brands can use emojis without sounding out of touch, and to discuss policy issues  ⚖around emojis.

There’s plenty for the 300 attendees to discuss, since emojis have become proxy for political and social statements in recent months: Last year, Apple introduced a “diverse” set of emoji Screen Shot 2016-08-11 at 5.21.31 PMthat would lets users choose shades from yellow to white to brown to darker brown to account for the fact that not everyone was “yellow.” There was also a move to have fewer emojis that showed women being stereotypically girly👰  and primping 💇🏾 while men played sports🏄,  championed by P&G’s Always brand, which Lee says will be one of the “case studies” discussed.

Just two weeks ago, Apple announced that it would replace the gun emoji in favor of a water pistol in iOS 10 to stop promoting gun violence. ❌⛔️

There’s also EmojiPlay, a more fun “celebration” that will include food 🍤 (only pizzas, noodle soups and other emoji-friendly food), an art gallery and film festivals.🎬

“We want to create a space open for discussion about whether hummus should be an emoji,” said Lee, who said that emojis unwittingly also create exclusionary spaces because they do represent a modern way we chat. For example, an an Muslim cleric ☪recently pointed out, the “praying hands” emoji isn’t halal, since Muslims don’t pray with their hands together, but up and open. “Maybe we need a new emoji for that.”

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