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Only 31 new emoji are going to be encoded this year

JUANA SUMMERS, HOST:

A moose, a blackbird, a goose and a jellyfish are just a few of the new emoji you can expect to find on your phone later this year.

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

Juana, don't forget the shaking face.

SUMMERS: (Laughter).

JENNIFER DANIEL: You really could not express being shook until shake face. It also is fairly apt for those situations when you are experiencing either a literal earthquake or a metaphorical one, or perhaps you're just shaking your head back and forth.

SHAPIRO: Jennifer Daniel chairs the Emoji Subcommittee at the Unicode Consortium, a nonprofit that approves new emojis. Daniel says another new entry bound to set texters hearts aflutter is the plain pink heart.

DANIEL: The pink heart is one of those kinds of emojis that you think has already been there, surely. Surely there has been a pink heart all this time. But no, there has not until today.

SUMMERS: Really? In total, the Unicode Consortium proposed just 31 new emoji this year, 10 times fewer than the number approved just a few years ago. And Daniel says there's a reason why.

DANIEL: When Unicode first started to encode emoji, there were only about 700 concepts in your keyboard. And if you flash-forward to today, there's way over 3,000 of these tiny glyphs at your fingertips. What this means is it requires us to review proposals in a way that maybe we didn't have to do in the earlier days. The criteria for inclusion is much higher.

SHAPIRO: So how many emojis are too many, we asked?

DANIEL: When is a garden done growing?

SHAPIRO: Well, there is a tulip emoji.

SUMMERS: A rose.

SHAPIRO: A sunflower.

SUMMERS: A seedling.

SHAPIRO: We might almost be there. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Ari Shapiro has been one of the hosts of All Things Considered, NPR's award-winning afternoon newsmagazine, since 2015. During his first two years on the program, listenership to All Things Considered grew at an unprecedented rate, with more people tuning in during a typical quarter-hour than any other program on the radio.
Juana Summers
Juana Summers is a political correspondent for NPR covering race, justice and politics. She has covered politics since 2010 for publications including Politico, CNN and The Associated Press. She got her start in public radio at KBIA in Columbia, Mo., and also previously covered Congress for NPR.
Taylor Hutchison
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