By Felicity Davey

EMOJIS, the little electronic symbols, objects or facial expressions we use in text messages and emails, are a fun and quick way to share feelings and thoughts without using words.

And a recent survey estimated that almost 10 million Australians regularly use them.

Popularity plus

The most commonly used emoji in Australia, and around the world, is the “crying smiley”.

The red love heart is also a favourite in this country, and it’s the most commonly used one in France.

But how does an emoji become an emoji? Well, there’s a committee called the Unicode Emoji subcommittee and it meets every year to approve new ones.

Jeremy Burge, the founder of the website Emojipedia, says the process can take a while.

“On average it can take around 18 months from when an emoji is proposed to when it might become available on phones – sometimes longer,” he says.

Dinosaurs, mermaids and genies

Late last month the subcommittee announced that a whole bunch of emojis will soon find their way on to smartphones and digital devices.

Among the 69 new characters are two dinosaurs, mermaids, genies, fairies and people meditating. There’s also a bunch of broccoli, a breastfeeding mother, a fortune cookie and a pretzel.

Wishlist is growing

Even though the range and number of emojis is growing, the wish list is growing too. Flamingos, sloths, hippos and kangaroos are all popular requests.

In the food and drinks category bagels, cupcakes and takeaway coffee emojis are on the list.

A lot of emoji users would also like a disco ball, and others want roller-skates and a softball.

Emojis on the big screen

Emoji characters will soon star in an animated film, The Emoji Movie. It’s due for release in Australia in September.

And you can celebrate world emoji day on July 17.

My favourite emojis

Maggie, 11

Maggie, 11

Maggie, 11

Favourite emoji: the pile of poo.

Why? Because it’s so funny.

Sienna, 10

Sienna, 10

Sienna, 10

Favourite emoji: the face with the stuck-out tongue and winking eye.

Why? My friends and I feel that it represents our quirky friendship group.

Tom, 13

Tom, 13

Tom, 13

Favourite emoji: the smiling while laughing emoji.

Why? It’s the one I use the most, when something’s so funny you almost cry.

Sabrina, 8

Sabrina, 8

Sabrina, eight

Favourite emoji: jazz hands.

Why? I use this one symbol to say everything I want to say when I am excited!

Kaiya, 8

Kaiya, 8

Kaiya, eight

Favourite emoji: the red love heart.

Why? I love to use it tell my Grandma I love her.

Isaac, 12

Isaac, 12

Isaac, 12

Favourite emoji: the peek-a-boo monkey.

Why? My parent’s call me a monkey, so that’s me!

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