The new Emojis are coming, close to 250 of them in July. Emoji - that's emoticon or smiley for the uninitiated. But this time the smileys are not all smiling. What's got the world most excited is the middle finger emoji. “Give your friends the middle finger when these new emoji arrive on your phone,” reads the headline on The Verge. How sweet, exactly what friends are for.
“A middle finger emoji is coming to a phone near you,” promises Time Magazine. In case you get dumped over a text message, you can quickly send that middle finger to your ex-boyfriend or girlfriend.
There’s an emoji with a "Man in a business suit levitating", a "Black Skull and Crossbones" one as well in the new list but none of it generating enough talk as the middle finger one. As is clear from this one fact: This tweet by Anthony Spears, which explains what really matters in this list has been marked as a favourite 15,000 times. The tweet reads, "250 NEW EMOJIS ARE BEING RELEASED IN JULY AND ONE OF THEM IS THE MIDDLE FINGER EMOJI AND THAT'S ALL THAT MATTERS" (You can view the full list here.)
Not surprisingly on the Emojipedia website, the middle finger one is currently the top trending. The description notes rather tamely, “A Middle Finger Emoji, used in western cultures as a rude or insulting gesture.”
The 250 new emoji icons are part of the Unicode update 7.0 which sets the standards for how text appears across programs. The latest update isn’t all about emoji icons, it’s also adding new currency symbols for the Russian ruble and Azerbaijani manat, 23 new lesser-used and historic scripts, as well as character additions to many existing scripts. These additions also extend support for written languages of North America, China, India, other Asian countries, and Africa. Do note that you might not automatically get the middle finger emoji in your app or smartphone. It’s up to programmers behind iOS and Android to adopt the new standards with software updates.
But now that we finally have a middle-finger emoji what does it mean for social interactions? Could it also make the Internet an angrier place than it is now? Already our timelines are swamped with Twitter cat fights and in tweets where every character is precious a middle finger emoji will be very, well, handy. As Em Rusciano notes on Twitter, “Finally they are making an up yours middle finger emoji. I will no longer need pesky words. I'll only need one character for all my tweets!”
Sure, if you can now are attacked on social media aka Facebook or Twitter by friends or strangers, you can just show them the middle finger. But don’t be surprised if you end up getting a lot of these yourself too. If someone is abusing you on Twitter as a Feminazi or libertard or calling you a fool, you can whip out a quick response but it might just come flying back on your timeline as well, multiplied manifold, a new troll missile.
It could be useful of course. It's a minimum typing method to efficiently to get rid of annoying texters who will forward you every silly message they have. Surely teens would rejoice at the thought of this. Plus in India, we all have that one person, with whom we’ve had exactly one interaction in our lifetime, but find ourselves flooded by their ‘Good morning’ messages on WhatsApp. Or sometimes they wish you Valentine’s Day or worse Friendships Day. If the middle finger emoji, doesn’t help you get cut loose of these ‘fraandship’ lovers, then we don’t know what will.
The arrival of this emoji also signals one big acceptance of a growing online culture where negative discussions are gaining more prominence and thus acceptance. In that sense a Facebook is still bucking the trend as it still doesn’t have a dislike button. According to Facebook product engineer Bob Badlwin, the idea is to encourage positive social interactions. “Actions on Facebook tend to focus on positive social interactions. Like is the lightest-weight way to express positive sentiment. I don't think adding a light-weight way to express negative sentiment would be that valuable,” he said in AMA on Reddit.
But now with a middle-finger emoji coming our way, who needs something as vanillas a dislike button?