Image courtesy of otto-yamamoto via Flickr


Instagram recently updated its app to include several changes to the ever-popular photograph-sharing social network. Emoji lovers will rejoice as they find themselves now using them even more than before.

The social networking giant announced that it is rolling out a few new filters called “Lark,” “Reyes,” and “Juno.” These subtle filters will now brighten and enhance your photos in a refined way.

In addition to these new filters, Instagram also brought something that, depending on your point of view, can either be a good or bad thing: emoji’s in your hashtags. As text messaging continues to be the new form of communication and less phone calls are being placed, it seems that being able to hashtag emojis is the next step. Emojis are changing the way we communicate faster than linguists can keep up with.

Emojis could even mark a return to a more pictographic script. The earliest examples of writing come from the pictographic hieroglyphs and inscriptions from Mesopotamia around 5,000 years ago. Could the rise of emoji mean we’re going backward?

Depending on your circle of friends, you either communicate via photos and videos, using emojis to communicate emotions and feelings in ways that anyone can understand, regardless of language or background.

But the ability to convey tone and emotion through text, without resorting to illustration, is one of the key challenges of writing. It’s what makes someone a good writer rather than an effective artist or illustrator.

And though emojis may make it easier to convey different moods without much effort, they have limitations of their own.

Recently I saw a friend who I haven’t seen in 6 months. We caught up on each other’s lives, but when we parted ways we didn’t even hug. So I reached for my phone and sent her an emoji. The next fews messages were emojis. In the past I would’ve handled it differently and either called her to tell her I miss her already, or sent a lengthy text message expressing my emotions.

With Instagram being the first to allow users to hashtag emojis, we can only imagine what other tech companies will allow us to do.