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'Makemoji' Founder Tyler Breton Talks to Startacus

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by Startacus Admin

Everyone and their gran has a fancy phone these days, meaning staying in touch and communicating has never been easier!

With the evolution, of these devices, so too has our methods of communicating; enter 'Emojis'; the newest means of presenting what we mean. We thought it wise to chat to the Founder of Makemoji - a 'Social Network For Emojis' Tyler Breton, about emojis, the internet and the evolution of language (better get my interview face on!)...

Emoji's, they're just cartoon doodles right? 
Makemoji Logo

Let's be straight: we can barely send a text without using emoji these days. This little digital image or icon has enabled us to express an idea or an emotion in a whole new way as it’s allowing us to emphasis what we want to say – regardless of what language we’re speaking.

Emojis is all about liven up your text messages with smiley faces, funny characters or perhaps not being so nice to someone… all depends on what emoji you decide to use, or create.

So there's a future for a universal visual language?

Emoji have completely transformed the way we communicate. Playing a part in advancing a language — yes, emoji as a language — is kind of a big deal.

MakemojiAs people’s frequent use of emojis have resulted in the replacement of actual word such as “I am feeling :-)”, as opposed to in addition to words to add context, e.g. “I am feeling happy :-)” it’s difficult to argue anything but that a new ‘language’ has been created already.

Also, if we consider the universality of cartoons or international symbols for traffic signs, toilets, etc. I’d say that emojis provide yet another way to communicate with anyone anywhere on a level playing field.

What makes Makemoji stand out in the emoji marketplace?

Founded in October 2013, Makemoji is the first social network for emojis. Users have the ability to choose from our hundreds of preset emojis or make their own entirely from scratch (using shapes/colors/photos). We’re adding new emojis to the preset library every week, as well as more shapes and colors.

Being designed with a universal language in mind, relying on symbols and visual cues to guide the user, our goal isn’t to replace the text message entirely, rather Emoji'sgive people the ability to truly customise the messages they send to the people closest to them.

For those of us who are new to emoji's, when did this phenomenon start and where does the word emoji come from?

The word "emoji" is translated from Japanese characters meaning, "picture letter." Japanese engineers first introduced emoji in 1999 as a fun visual for Japanese cell phone users, but as they gained popularity, they started causing problems. There was no regulation in the coding and no uniform look to the emoji. For example different developers would create the same image of a cat face, but each used a different code. If one person sent a cat image using one code, but the recipient used a phone that supported a different set of code, the image wouldn't show up.

In 2007, the Unicode Consortium added emoji to its list of keyboard languages that it encodes and regulates. Companies like Apple, Microsoft, Adobe, and Windows now

follow Unicode's guidelines when developing programs and apps. This is why you can read emails from people in a different country or send emoji back and forth to friends, no matter what kind of phone each of you has.

Tell us a little about your own career background and how this lead to you developing Makemoji? 
Tyler Breton from Makemoji

Being an entrepreneur at heart, I first started to explore opportunities within the tech space at the age of 16 and on the back of that stated to built nightlife and media companies.

Having travelled all over the world and coming face-to-face with how language barriers keep people apart; to overcome this, my friend and I started communicating by using emojis. However, with iOS/Android/Facebook emojis dominating this space there were no personalization options in terms of how to express yourself. End of the day, I should be able to make the emoji I think describes ‘happiness’ not what these big companies are telling me happiness should look like. On the back of this frustration, I decided to give people the ability to make their own emojis, which became the start of the Makemoji journey.

And in terms of Makemoji - where right now are you at and what's next for the next 6 months?

Right now we're at 350,000 users. In the next 6 months we're planning to surpass 1,000,000 users and release our Android version. Our goal is to add thousands of new emojis every week to the app, as well as a highly requested emoji keyboard. We also have a few surprises in store for our users and some really great new innovations for mobile.

Cheers Tyler and we look forward to hearing - and seeing more about the journey of Emoji's and Makemoji over the next few months...

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Published on: 1st December 2014

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