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emoji.li
emojicate

Now There’s Not One, But Two Emoji-Only Social Networks

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You wait ages Screen Shot 2014-08-04 at 1.11.33 PM for an emoji-only social network and then two come along in quick succession Screen Shot 2014-08-04 at 1.10.25 PM!

Emoji.li

Back at the end of June Emoji.li stuck its yellow nose above the parapet to urge people to reserve emoji usernames for its forthcoming emoji-only network.

That’s right, even your name has to be rendered in emotive blobs on this wordless social network… Screen Shot 2014-08-04 at 1.10.25 PM

Which, it should be noted, still hasn’t launched yet. I mean jeez already… Screen Shot 2014-08-04 at 1.11.33 PM

Emoji.li

Emojicate

A month or so on and a UK startup has beat Emoji.li to the Screen Shot 2014-08-04 at 1.10.38 PM by launching its emoji-only social network on the App Store Screen Shot 2014-08-04 at 1.13.56 PM.

Emojicate, for that is its name, is a free download for iOS devices Screen Shot 2014-08-04 at 1.13.56 PM.

Its rejection of letters and words does not extend to usernames — in fact you have to sign in with your Facebook account to use Emojicate — so the emoji-only concept has already been watered down a tad Screen Shot 2014-08-04 at 1.20.08 PM.

Emojicate’s creators have also created user tweakable emoji, like a dynamic clock which can be set to show a particular time… Some emoji purists may consider that cheating Screen Shot 2014-08-04 at 1.10.38 PM.

Screen Shot 2014-08-04 at 1.48.29 PMScreen Shot 2014-08-04 at 1.49.27 PM

Instead of using stock unicode emoticons, Emojicate has built an entirely new set of emoji and intends to keep adding to them as users and usage demands. (So you could actually call this a stickers-only social network.) It’s eyeing up branded emoji for future revenue streams to monetize the network.

All emoji all the time

There is one salient factor linking these two emoji-only networks, beyond an addiction to yellow-faced symbols: they are both doing their big reveal in, what my TC colleague John Biggs memorably describes as “the horse latitudes of summer”. (Or Screen Shot 2014-08-04 at 1.42.48 PMScreen Shot 2014-08-04 at 1.43.05 PM for short.)

Aka: when the tech news cycle traditionally spins down and the tech press has more time than usual to contemplate whether an emoji-only social network actually has any substance.

Does an emoji-only network have any substance?

Not really, no. My TC colleague Jordan Crook was intending to write something about the launch of Emoji.li a month ago but its makers apparently only wanted to be interviewed via the medium of emoji. Which obviously turned out to be a total non-starter.

Because you can’t actually say anything of substance with emoji-only.

“emoji only interviews are not only hard, but add very little value to anything… it’s literally like… (money sign?) (dancing lady, bunny dancing ladies, family) … makes no god damn sense,” is how Jordan summed up this entirely futile process — using, it should be noted, the medium of words.

What she did not say was Screen Shot 2014-08-04 at 1.24.33 PM.

And with good reason, because that would have been total nonsense.

Nonsense as the new sense

But perhaps nonsense is the underlying point of these emoji-only social networks. Using an up-for-endless-interpretation graphical communication medium means meaning is rendered chronically possible — and playing guessing games as to what’s supposed to be meant gives users a new way to pass the time Screen Shot 2014-08-04 at 1.11.33 PM.

And given that it’s all so chronically meaningless, you can even (non-)communicate with people who speak other languages too. So there’s that.

In other wordsScreen Shot 2014-08-04 at 1.13.56 PM=Screen Shot 2014-08-04 at 2.10.52 PM.

There are also shiggles to consider. Aka Screen Shot 2014-08-04 at 1.39.52 PM .

And novelty-loving teens… Screen Shot 2014-08-04 at 2.13.36 PM

Yo-moji

Plus, telescoping out to take in the wider context around messaging for a moment, there is also Yo. An new kid on the messaging block that recently raised considerable investor backing — off the back of an awful lot of coverage for an interface that lets people send a single word (“yo”) to each other.

The novelty of a one-word messaging app has inflated a startup valuation of $10 million at Yo‘s last totting up.

yo

So-moji

So, it’s pretty likely that these emoji-only social networks, which are united in their attempt to use the quiet days of summer to stand out in a hyper-crowded messaging space, have one thing on their minds, and one thing only.

Well, two if you count emoji.

No, not Screen Shot 2014-08-04 at 2.16.35 PM.

Namely…

Screen Shot 2014-08-04 at 1.56.37 PM

Screen Shot 2014-08-04 at 1.56.37 PMScreen Shot 2014-08-04 at 1.56.37 PMScreen Shot 2014-08-04 at 1.56.37 PM

Screen Shot 2014-08-04 at 1.56.37 PMScreen Shot 2014-08-04 at 1.56.37 PMScreen Shot 2014-08-04 at 1.56.37 PMScreen Shot 2014-08-04 at 1.56.37 PM

Screen Shot 2014-08-04 at 1.56.37 PMScreen Shot 2014-08-04 at 1.56.37 PMScreen Shot 2014-08-04 at 1.56.37 PMScreen Shot 2014-08-04 at 1.56.37 PMScreen Shot 2014-08-04 at 1.56.37 PMScreen Shot 2014-08-04 at 1.56.37 PM

No-moji

Which just leaves one final Screen Shot 2014-08-04 at 2.30.48 PM question.

Are emoji-only social networks a sign of the Screen Shot 2014-08-04 at 2.22.45 PM — and, if so, when will it Screen Shot 2014-08-04 at 2.32.10 PM?