Sunday 28 February 2021


Via Duck Soup, in a fascinating parallel analysis of the vetting process (though the stakes are much lower) that underpins which emojis enter into common parlance and how they are rendered across platforms (see previously) and approval of new vaccines and other medical interventions, though the correspondence is of course heavily weighted against the former with science and evidence-based research, taste, lobbying, politics and shifting cultural norms play a part in both, which can in usual cases take years. The original syringe and needle emoji dates back to 1999, adopted as a Unicode standard in 2010, and was meant to encourage blood donation in Japan, later used a shorthand to urge people to get tested for communicable diseases, retaining the drops of blood throughout most iterations and incarnations. Now, however, the emoji is being modified slightly to remove those drops of blood (a separate drop of blood emoji was approved in 2019 to represent both donation drives and mensuration and ๐Ÿ…ฐ️, ๐Ÿ†Ž, ๐Ÿ…ฑ️ and ๐Ÿ…พ️ already refer to blood types) across most platforms—like what immunologists hope for adapting existing vaccines to combat new variants as they arise in an expedited fashion since the template is already established, and communicate vaccination status and acceptance and support. It may seem trivial but the ability to signal is immensely important and a lot of people have a lot invested the success of the campaign that these symbols represent.