Monday, November 14, 2016

Finland Succeeded In Making The Unicode Consortium Adopt A Sauna Emoji – But It Didn’t Go Exactly As Planned

Via Business Insider:

Saunas are literally part of the furniture in Finland. The country has more than three million saunas – more than cars.

Finland has achieved an historic digital milestone.

The country’s best known symbol, the sauna, has now been approved as a new emoji by the Unicode Consortium, a gate-keeper of the global smartphone language, Unicode.

Hence Finland is now the first country in the world to have a national emoji, The Wall Street Journal reports.

It was in December 2015, when Finland unveiled its proposals for national emojis. Since then, Petra Theman, director of public diplomacy for Finland’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, has been the main lobbyist for initiative. Theman told WSJ: “Finland is not known for many things. We don’t have the Eiffel Tower. But we do have the sauna”.

Among the four emoji proposals Finland sent to the Consortium, two have now been approved: one sauna emoji, and one woollen socks emoji. They will be available with the Consortium’s upcoming release of the latest version of the character set, Unicode 10.

The secretive Unicode Consortium consists currently of 18 people, who approve emojis that are in heavy use among both Android and iOS smartphone users. Once an emoji has been approved, it cannot be removed.

But there is one thing that may disappoint Finns.

The characters sitting in the sauna were not approved, due to their nudeness. Instead, The Foreign Ministry worked together with the Consortium and settled on a character wearing a towel.Thielman points out that Finns are always naked in the sauna: “The added towel makes it a bit more difficult for Finns to relate to it”.

Either way, these news should make Finns look forward to the next emoji update.

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