Emoji started in Japan as a way to add context to text correspondence. Thanks to American teens, who influence influential bloggers, the emoji characters have blossomed into a cultural phenomenon. There are emoji art exhibits, emoji poetry books, emoji social networks, and, thanks to Katy Perry, emoji music videos. You can buy a pair of designer slippers decorated with emoji characters for $340. A crowdsourced project with Kickstarter funding translated Melville’s classic novel into the new hieroglyphics under the title Emoji Dick.
Trust that there’s a business angle to this nonsense. A new class of emoji is set to be released this month by the mysterious consortium that dreams them up, and among them are symbols clearly intended for business correspondence. That includes a selection of pens, several telephones, five envelopes, two floppy disks, and a businessman who is, for some reason, levitating.