A campaign group in Finland crowdsourced for a ‘forgiveness’ emoji, and the winning design—selected by former president of Finland, Tarja Halonen—highlights the positive emotional side and the peace-building effect of forgiveness.
Finnish campaign group crowdsource for ‘forgiveness’ emoji
The global Forgivemoji campaign originated in Finland in late 2019, stemming from the realisation that the official emoji catalogue currently contains over 3,000 emojis, but so far none of them symbolises forgiveness. The emoji chosen by former president of Finland, Tarja Halonen, features two hands giving a thumbs-up sign in front of a heart background. The design highlights the positive emotional side and the peace-building effect of forgiveness.
There are thousands of emojis, but none appear to equate to saying “sorry”
A coalition of charitable and peace-building organisations in Finland led the quest to crowdsource an emoji to be added to the thousands available to smartphone users.
“In our modern digital communication culture, emojis are an essential way of expressing human feelings beyond words,” said Tuomo Pesonen, from the Evangelical Lutheran church of Finland, which came up with the idea and is one of the founding organisations of the #forgivemoji campaign.
“We were surprised to realise that the official emoji selection has dozens of different cats and even two designs of zombies, but there isn’t an emoji for forgiveness.” he told The Guardian.
Pesonen explained how the campaign will strive to promote a message of peace and mutual understanding across the world and that it was hoped a future emoji would help encourage people to carry forgiveness into their every day communications.
Campaigners will urge managers of the emoji list at the Unicode Consortium to add the winning idea to the collection, which is used by millions of smart phone users across the world.
There are thousands of emojis, but of all the weird, wonderful and miscellaneous icons, none appear to equate to saying sorry.
Emojis: a brief history
- The internet cartoon symbols known as emojis made their debut back in 1999. Before that, we had simple emoticons, a series of keyboard characters typed in sequence to signify a variety of emotional responses.
- The very first emoticons, the smiley face :- ) and its evil twin “frowny” face :- ( were the idea of Carnegie Mellon professor Dr. Scott Fahlman. Smiley and Frowny celebrated their 38th birthdays on September 19.
- While some might consider emojis frivolous, Harvard linguist Steven Pinker thinks otherwise. Emojis convey a person’s emotion and tone in a way simple text cannot, making them vital to ensuring communication is understood as intended.
- “[As with] a question mark or an exclamation point, they are there to convey some communicative force that would not be obvious just from the arrangement of words on the page,” he explained in an interview with Business Insider.
- While there are literally thousands of emojis these days, only a handful are recognized by the Unicode Consortium, the group responsible for overseeing the collection of preset symbols programmed into smart devices worldwide. Out of the current crop, not having a forgiveness emoji seemed a glaring omission. The #forgivemoji campaign was envisioned as a way to fix that oversight.
- Check out all the #forgivemoji proposals the campaign received from all over the world.
The earliest possible date for the emoji to be available publically is in late 2021
Other organisers of the non-denominational Forgivemoji campaign included CMI Crisis Management Initiative, Clear Channel, PR agency Kaiku Helsinki, Finn Church Aid, the Deaconess Foundation, Felm, and Church in Helsinki.
The Forgivemoji campaign attracted major publicity in the international media. The story was picked up by BBC, The Guardian, and ABC Australia, among others. In social media the campaign reached more than two million people worldwide.
The campaign invited the public to send their own designs on what a forgiveness emoji should look like. From hundreds of submissions, former president Halonen chose a design which the campaign will next present to the Unicode organisation via an official emoji application. Criteria for new emoji include factors such as necessity, predicted usage frequency, and clarity.
Based on the application, the Unicode consortium will decide whether the Forgivemoji will be included as part of the official emoji selection which is updated annually. If the emoji passes Unicode’s criteria, different device manufacturers and service providers will first modify the design to fit their own use. The earliest possible date for the emoji to be available publically is in late 2021.
HOW TO FORGIVE (WITH PICTURES)
When someone hurts you, it can feel good to hang onto the anger and resentment that may bubble up after their actions. However, forgiving others can actually benefit you both mentally and physically, and it can help you move on from thinking about what the other person did. Forgiving yourself for hurting someone else is another tough task, and it can feel even harder than forgiving a friend or family member. With a little bit of patience and compassion, you can learn to forgive yourself or others and move on from feeling angry, hurt, or resentful.