Late Surge May Make This the 'Emoji of the Year'

Saluting face has become ubiquitous thanks in part to the chaos at Twitter
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 27, 2022 8:30 AM CST
Is This the 'Emoji of the Year'?
The saluting face emoji is a hot commodity at the moment. (This is the Apple version.)   (YouTube)

The year is almost up, but there's a late entrant for "emoji of the year" honors. It's the saluting face emoji that has lately surged in popularity and use, thanks largely to the mass layoffs and firings at Twitter. However, the New York Times notes that it's spreading beyond Twitter to the tech world in general, where layoffs are currently rampant. As Casey Newton of Platformer reported earlier this month, Twitter employees began posting the emoji as their final sendoff to co-workers on the company's Slack channels. Mashable describes Twitter employees' use of the emoji (which has different variations on Twitter and Apple) as a "stoic farewell and gesture of respect to their colleagues as the ship goes down."

When a Twitter engineer and Elon Musk had a public exchange that culminated in Musk announcing the employee had been fired, the engineer, of course, posted a "cheeky salute" in response, per the Times. One fan of the symbol tweeted: "emoji of the year i think. genuinely don’t remember how i used to communicate before it." That particular tweet has been liked more than 80,000 times. The chief of Emojipedia.com says the emoji wasn't used much until the last few weeks, and it has since become the fifth most clicked-upon emoji at the site.

"A military salute, of course, implies respect and solemnity, which is one of the reasons the emoji has worked so well as a gesture made on Slack to co-workers," writes Reyhan Harmanci at the Times. "It is also a symbol of dignified resignation, and a response not only to Twitter’s unpredictable layoffs but also the tech industry’s other mass firings." (Read more emoji stories.)

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