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Imoji

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eMoji this

Imoji App: The Emoji Gets Personalized

Why you should care

Because it’s time that text messaging got even more personal.

Grid of emoticons

Our cell phones have been getting smarter and more interesting, but how we text message has remained pretty blah.

People started using creative shorthands like LOL, BRB, OMG and a host of other acronyms — though some got so obscure some of us had to Google them (HAND? IYKWIM?) just to understand what they meant. Then emoticons and clever keyboarding made expressing yourself a bit more fun and way more visual:

:-)

:P

<(=’.’=)>

Screengrab of Imoji app on iphone

Emoji — the little graphics we can insert in our texts — originated in Japan and caught on like crazy (the word literally means “picture letter”). And now, you can amp up the “i” in your iMessages with emojis that capture even more of how you look and feel.

With the Imoji app (free on iOS), you can take a photo and turn it into a personalized emoji — or “imoji” — which you can then drop in your iMessage texts. The interface is pretty intuitive, allowing users to take a photo or choose one that’s already on your phone. And the app goes beyond selfie emojis, since you can also search the Web for images. That means you could make an imoji of your lunch, your dog or Donald Trump’s hairdo. And you can decide whether to keep your imojis private or share them with the platform for other users to grab — while choosing (or not) to borrow other people’s public imojis.

Daniel Brusilovsky, one of app’s six co-founders, told OZY the goal was to bring “a little bit of life and fun into conversation.”

“If you’re having a tense moment or something,” he says, “I can just see people just cracking up over getting an imoji.”

No doubt people are already cracking up since the app’s successful launch on Thursday. Comedian Dane Cook posted an Instagram photo showing a sleepy imoji of himself.

Brusilovsky said the idea for Imoji started with a conversation about how selfies were taking over at the same time emojis were already popular. So they combined the two trends. Today, the San Francisco-based team is working on an Android app version while figuring out how best to incorporate imojis on all forms of text conversation.

Just think: Someday soon, you might be able to drop personalized images into emails, tweets, Facebook posts — who knows, maybe even digital magazine articles.

The latest twist on social media is coming — and it looks a lot like … you.

Grid of 5 headshots on pink with different facial expressions

Vignesh Ramachandran is a tech buff and journalist working in the San Francisco Bay Area. Follow him on Twitter @VigneshR.

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