Go to your emoji keyboard on your phone.
You’ll find a clown, a snowman, a taco and a turtle – but you won’t find an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander flag among the 253 others available for use. This is despite constant campaigning to unicode (who decides on which emojis are released) to make one available. Often you’ll see people use [-0-] as a substitute.
Now while it’s not exactly as widely available as the standard emoji keyboard, Twitter has decided to bring the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander flags to the platform, using certain hashtags.
The move comes as Australians recognise the 50th anniversary of the landmark 1967 referendum, National Sorry Day, and celebrate the beginning of the AFL Indigenous round. This emoji is a global first for Twitter.
“Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander flag emojis have long been sought after by Indigenous social media users,” said Luke Pearson, founder of IndigenousX, a project amplifying Indigenous voices online.
“For Twitter to deliver just before #NRW2017, so that they will be online for such significant dates as Mabo Day’s 25th anniversary (#Mabo25), the 20th anniversary of the Bring them Home Report (#BTH20), the 50th anniversary of the 1967 Referendum, as well as current events like the Uluru convention, the AFL Indigenous Round, and ABC’s Right Wrongs project will be a much welcome addition to the already buzzing Indigenous Twitter landscape.”
In the last year, Twitter has recorded a rapid growth of conversations around hashtags like #IndigenousDads, #IndigenousMums, and #ChangeTheDate. The growth of these social movements has challenged homogenous and stereotypical views of Indigenous identity in contemporary Australia, and given Indigenous voices a platform to tell their own story in their own words.
“After speaking with our partners, it was clear there was a community desire for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander flags to be represented on the platform,” says
Kara Hinesley, Head of Public Policy and Government at Twitter, “and we wanted to support that.”
The emoji will appear on Twitter when any of the following hashtags are used:
Now, to get unicode on the case.