From IndieWeb

Emoji are “picture characters” often used like emoticons, either expressively or as punctuation in text notes, as self-standing responses in conversations, or as reactions (reacji).


Emoji can be used to briefly communicate an impression, or more creatively punctuate and add emotional context to plain text.

How to

How to support

As a developer of IndieWeb related software and services, supporting emoji requires paying careful attention to three areas:

  • user input: make sure wherever a user can enter text that you handle emoji either by allowing and supporting it, or providing good feedback to the user where it may be disallowed (e.g. perhaps in a username)
  • storage: make sure your software and interfaces which store textual content support full fidelity Unicode both storing and retrieving
  • display: either directly render emoji via its Unicode characters, or if you are doing the extra work to display representative images (like many social media silos do), be sure to put the the respective Unicode characters in the alt text of the images

See this article for more support and implementation tips:

  • 2016-08-06: Solve for emoji originally posted at: http://glasnt.com/blog/2016/08/06/solve-for-emoji.html

IndieWeb Examples

Emoji are prominently used in reacji responses and tagmoji aggregation pages.


standardized vs platform-specific display

Many silos standardize their emoji display by replacing them with the same image on all platforms. (e.g. WhatsApp, Twitter, Telegram, Threma). Replacing them with images also allows to show colored emoji everywhere, which is very difficult using fonts, since there are conflicting standards for multi-colored glyphs. Several permissively-licensed image sets are available, e.g. by Twitter, Emoji One and Google. If a site replaces emoji with images, it should set the alt="" attribute to the text version of the emoji.



Emoji are rendered differently on different platforms, devices, and operating systems, with some examples leading to differing interpretations of the same emoji, depending on how they are displayed to the user.

Sometimes these differences can be stark enough to cause a miscommunication between senders and readers.

may harm accessibility

Many people have begun to put large strings of emojis into usernames. Accessibility experts argue those who use screen readers must get through verbal explanations of each emoji in a field that was designed for a name and not biographical information. See tweet



Articles and papers about emoji that have particular relevance and connection to the indieweb or independent creatives.

  • 2015 Social Media + Society journal: The Conservatism of Emoji: Work, Affect, and Communication

    We argue that emoji characters both embody and represent the tension between affect as human potential, and as a productive force that capital continually seeks to harness through the management of everyday biopolitics. Emoji are instances of a contest between the creative power of affective labor and its limits within a digital realm in the thrall of market logic.

    • 2014-08-20 The Conservatism of Emoji / Emoji offer you new possibilities for digital expression, but only if you’re speaking their language

      [Emoji] are also agents in turning emotions into economic value. As a blip in the continuing evolution of platform languages, emoji may be remembered as ultimately conservative: digital companions whose bright colors and white faces had nothing much to say about our political impasses.


Emoji were originally associated with cellular telephone usage in Japan, but now popular worldwide. The word emoji comes from the Japanese 絵 (e ≅ picture) + 文字 (moji ≅ written character).

See Also