Greetings in Solidarity – The New York Times

Emojis have a special ability to acquire meaning in real-time, some have theorized. “Unlike words, we know exactly when each individual emoji was created and are warned about new ones,” says a 2021 scholarly paper on the evolving meaning of emoji.

Keith Broni, the editor-in-chief of Emojipedia.com, a reference site and emoji archive, said the “versatile” saluting hands emoji hadn’t climbed the charts until recently. As of this writing, it’s the 5th most clicked emoji on his site, according to the Google Analytics report. “It happens all the time with emojis,” he said in a phone call. A symbol can “sit on the keyboard for years before its moment arrives,” he said.

Mister. Broni says the surge in saluting hands reminds him of previous emoji trends, like when use of the scarf emoji quadrupled after Taylor Swift released her 2021 version of the song “All Too Well.” (In it, she talks about the scarf she left at the house of her then-boyfriend, Jake Gyllenhaal.) Before it officially debuted in 2021, the saluting hands emoji was one of the “most requested” Emojipedia users, Mr. Broni said.

In the future Mr. Broni said the emoji’s use will likely go up and down, but he believes it will remain much more widely known than it was before Twitter employees used it. “It will certainly decrease over the next month or so,” he said. “But will it go back down to low levels? I would say no.”

As a symbol, employees at tech companies seem to use the salute to loosely identify themselves as service workers banding together, which may seem like an exaggeration to some observers.

“I will put on record that any and all public behavior from Silicon Valley is deeply self-aggrandizing and somewhat terrifying,” said Ryan Broderick, who covers digital culture in his Substack newsletter, Garbage Day. for Mr. Broderick, who like most tech reporters has been keeping a close eye on Twitter’s changes, wonders what happens after the greeting emoji loses power? He wonders if the small gesture of solidarity will prompt workers at tech companies to take collective industrial action and unionize.

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