Emoji—the tiny and typically adorable pictographs that increasingly accent our online communication—were first created in Japan in 1999
. Emoji became a part of Unicode, which sets a computing standard for text, in 2010. After that, operating systems like Apple’s iOS and Android introduced emoji keyboards in 2011 and 2013, respectively. (Apple also introduced ethnically diverse emoji in April of this year as part of its iOS 8.3.) Since then, tear-shedding smiley faces, fried shrimp, and syringes (for example) have increasingly popped up in texts and tweets. And earlier this month, Thomas Dimson, a software engineer at Instagram, shared findings that around 40 percent of text on that social media platform contains emoji. Dimson, along with linguist Tyler Schnoebelen and interactive designer Ana Becker, discuss how emoji shape the way we communicate online.