From a few punctuation marks thrown together to the seemingly boundless album of emojis we have at our finger tips today — the language of the internet has come a long way. On International Internet Day, Twitter decided to celebrate by mapping the history of all of the custom emojis it has introduced over the years.
While users have always had access to a standard set of emojis, Twitter decided to take it a step further in 2015 by introducing 13 custom emojis that catered specifically to an Indian audience. The first of these was the #MakeInIndia emoji, which was launched in November that year.
— Twitter India (@TwitterIndia) November 4, 2015
Since then, Twitter has introduced over 300 India-centric custom emojis to mark festivals, elections, popular sporting events, the birthdays of cultural icons and even the anniversaries of landmark Bollywood films.
In 2016, the platform saw its first custom emoji activated by clicking on a hashtag in an Indian language. The animated red and orange diya, introduced on Diwali that year, was also the platform’s first-ever crowdsourced emoji. Thousands of Indians participated in a 48-hour Twitter poll to choose the colour of the festive lamp.
— Twitter India (@TwitterIndia) October 25, 2016
The platform now has custom emojis for a wide range of Indian festivals, including Ganesh Chathurthi, Eid, Vishu and Guru Nanak Jayanti. Twitter also launched an emoji depicting Babasaheb Ambedkar in April 2018, to mark the occasion of Ambedkar Jayanti.
Given the popularity of sports in India, it is unsurprising that 43 per cent of all custom emojis on Twitter have been inspired by popular sporting events like the IPL and FIFA. The first custom IPL emoji was introduced in 2017, along with personalised emojis depicting 30 popular players.
— ICC (@ICC) June 24, 2017
But Indian popular culture, too, is finally having its moment in the sun. Over the last few years, Indian Twitter has witnessed massive growth in conversations around movies, TV, music and lifestyle, which is why around 11 per cent of the custom emojis launched on the service are around entertainment.
The Ranveer Singh and Vaani Kapoor starrer ‘Befikre’ was the first Hindi film to get an emoji in 2016. The Indian TV show ‘Bigg Boss Season 10’, too, got an emoji depicting its classic ‘eye’ logo that year.
— Twitter India (@TwitterIndia) October 16, 2016
This year, Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge (DDLJ) became the first Indian film to receive a custom emoji to commemorate the silver anniversary of its release. The emoji, a cow bell, could be activated using the hashtags #DDLJ, #DDLJ25, #25YearsOfDDLJ, and #DilwaleDulhaniaLeJayenge.
Ao, Ao…we're celebrating 25 years of one of Hindi cinema's all-time great romances with a special emoji. Ring a cowbell? Tweet with #DDLJ, #DDLJ25, #25YearsOfDDLJ, #DilwaleDulhaniaLeJayenge and #डीडीएलजे. pic.twitter.com/zXDyaoBqGH
— Twitter India (@TwitterIndia) October 20, 2020
Several product launches and brand campaigns have also been undertaken on the platform. The first brand to get an emoji was Maruti Nexa in January, 2017.
— Nexa Experience (@NexaExperience) January 13, 2017
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