In a digital culture where words and symbols are interwoven, emojis have become a mainstream form of communication. The use of emojis can symbolise a person’s feelings, location, or a sense of pride in their nationality, ethnicity, or community. To date, there has been a gap in emojis representing Australia’s Indigenous communities and cultures.
Today, Twitter has launched an emoji featuring both the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander flags 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, and 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.
Twitter is a place to engage, challenge, and promote ideas. 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.
Twitter is a place for conversation, where all stories can unfold. 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, and we wanted to support that.