Twitter on Wednesday rolled out an update to the custom emoji images it calls Twemoji. In total 787 new emoji characters are supported, and one of the more obvious changes is this:
Above: Emoji modifiers are supported in Twemoji 2.0.
Unicode 7 and Unicode 8 emojis are now supported, bringing Twemoji on par with the support that Apple includes in iOS 9.1, and has more emoji functionality than the Google Android 6.0.1 update (which lacks modifiers).
Above: Modifiers, Families, Unicode 7, Unicode 8, and ZWJ emojis in Twemoji 2.0.
Every human-looking emoji now supports modifiers for skin tone on Twitter.
In a point of difference from other platforms, each default ("non-human" skin tone) emoji has orange hair.
Above: Redheads get representation in Twemoji.
Twitter's design manager Bryan Haggerty reassured me that this wasn't due to any redheads on the team feeling slighted.
The choice of orange hair was to ensure the default (non-human) appearance look distinct from the emoji-modified characters.
Above: Snowboarder has multiple skin tones available in Twemoji 2.0 not present on iOS or Windows.
Zero Width Joiner sequences are a strange beast. They basically come into the world when a vendor decides to introduce one, and with no formal approval required, what we have seen in 2015 has been:
- Apple releases an iOS update with new ZWJ emojis
- e.g. Families in iOS 8.3
- The Anti-Bullying emoji in iOS 9.1
- Other platform vendors add support for these sequences in future updates
- e.g. Families and the Anti-Bullying emoji appeared in Android 6.0.1, and now also in Twemoji 2.0
Above: Family combinations are supported in Twemoji 2.0.
Recognizing that compatibility with other platforms is key, Twemoji now supports everything that we see on iOS and Android:
- 👨👨👦 Family (Man, Man, Boy)
- 👨👨👦👦 Family (Man, Man, Boy, Boy)
- 👨👨👧 Family (Man, Man, Girl)
- 👨👨👧👦 Family (Man, Man, Girl, Boy)
- 👨👨👧👧 Family (Man, Man, Girl, Girl)
- 👨👩👦👦 Family (Man, Woman, Boy, Boy)
- 👨👩👧 Family (Man, Woman, Girl)
- 👨👩👧👦 Family (Man, Woman, Girl, Boy)
- 👨👩👧👧 Family (Man, Woman, Girl, Girl)
- 👩👩👦 Family (Woman, Woman, Boy)
- 👩👩👦👦 Family (Woman, Woman, Boy, Boy)
- 👩👩👧 Family (Woman, Woman, Girl)
- 👩👩👧👦 Family (Woman, Woman, Girl, Boy)
- 👩👩👧👧 Family (Woman, Woman, Girl, Girl)
New couples are also included:
- 👨❤️👨 Couple With Heart (Man, Man)
- 👩❤️👩 Couple With Heart (Woman, Woman)
- 👨❤️💋👨 Kiss (Man, Man)
- 👩❤️💋👩 Kiss (Woman, Woman)
Above: Three varieties of the kiss emoji on Twitter.
It would be interesting to see if Google or Microsoft add new ZWJ Sequences in future (for a family of five, perhaps?) and whether other vendors would in turn support those as well.
Twemoji has dramatically increased the number of supported flags, going from 10 up to 257 in the latest update.
Above: 257 emoji flags now work on Twitter.com.
Until now, Twitter has shown two-letter regional indicator codes instead of flags for all-but ten countries. This is a huge improvement2.
Above: New Faces from Unicode 8.0.
Of all the new faces available since iOS 9.1, Upside-Down Face has been the most popular on Emojipedia, and I suspect will be just as popular on Twitter.
And these views are courtesy of Unicode 7:
Other popular additions have been the taco, middle finger, bed, and cheese. I can't include every new emoji image here, but have a browse of Unicode 7 and Unicode 8 to see all the new emojis available.
Some older Unicode characters have also been given an emoji presentation, in line with the latest version of the Unicode standard.
Above: Older Unicode characters that have been given an emoji presentation.
📳 Vibration Mode now shows vibration lines instead of a heart:
📯 Postal Horn gets a little red ribbon:
🏤 European Post Office has the postal horn added to the front:
🏁 Chequered Flag gets a slight wave:
💳 Credit Card is now yellow/orange instead of gray:
Twemoji 2.0 is now working for all users of the Twitter (desktop) website, but Vine and Tweetdeck users will have to wait for updates which are planned for release "soon".
Twitter has confirmed they will be releasing these images as part of their open source Twemoji project, but at this stage, the repository has yet to receive those updates.
One exception: Eject Symbol isn't yet deemed an emoji, despite the stop, fast forward, rewind, and other similar symbols being included in the standard. Twemoji 2.0 includes the eject symbol as an emoji anyway. Pre-empting its likely future inclusion. ↩
My friend Dave calls these "Thinking, sad thinking and annoyed thinking" for iOS, Android, and Twitter. ↩
July 15 was Twitter's official launch date, but Twitter celebrates March 21 as its founding date. Part of the decision to change the date involved people assuming July 15 was an error - being so close to July 17 on Apple's calendar emoji. ↩
This is the Twitter HQ in San Fransisco. ↩