Quiz: Is your emoji game ready for the emoji-only social network?

Cold face, snowflake, inbox, check, bull, bull, bull, low visibility sky

Confession time. I am so excited to try Emojli, the coming-soon social network where all conversations must be conducted entirely in emoji. It might be something about the way the creators are selling it: “Yo was the last mostly-useless app to get a load of attention, so I guess we’re the next one.” (I like my frivolous social networks to show some self-awareness in their inanity.)

But while it’s easy to see this idea as simply silly — or as the next phase in the inevitable decline of language as we hurtle towards our dystopian future — what’s most intriguing about it is exactly the opposite. Far from oversimplifying communication, it promises to transform every exchange into a puzzle waiting to be solved.

Each image has been imbued with some symbolism that needs to be teased out. Is that picture of an anthropomorphic poop meant to be a literal poop or a conceptual one? Does it combine with the flamenco dancer next to it to suggest the idea of bad dancing? Or with the earth to make a statement about how humanity’s unwillingness to take strong enough steps to protect the environment could be leading us into a climate crisis of catastrophic proportions?

Writing and reading in emoji becomes a complicated dance between creator and consumer, each side attempting to understand how the other’s brain might imagine the world and then impose that interpretation onto a finite set of tiny images.

That’s probably too much credit to give an app that was created largely as a joke. But here’s the point: Talking only in emoji is hard. Reading only in emoji is even harder.

So in the interest of practice (and definitely not because I was procrastinating at work), I’ve crafted some fairly recognizable phrases using only emoji. Take your best guess – can you figure out what they say?

Genre: TV taglines you might say wistfully while staring into the distance


(Hint: It’s not, as colleague Adam Kushner guessed, “Yes, I agree we should wait until beach season and take the whole family, plus ma’s corpse.”)

Genre: Phrases you might gasp at a girlfriend in horror (mock or otherwise)

Exclamation mark, honey pot, no symbol

Genre: Music lyrics I only sort of understand but still might throw into conversation to sound cool

World over America, world over Asia, world over Africa, finger pointing down, exclamation mark and question mark

Genre: ’80s movie quotes that make you feel ready to take on the world


Genre: Phrases we all probably used seriously at some point, but which now may only be employed sarcastically

Speech bubble, right arrow, hand, demon face, hear no evil monkey

Genre: Art-themed phrases that make you sound pretty deep

smoking symbol, right arrow, no symbol, smoking symbol

Genre: “SNL” lines that you might say to someone when you’re annoyed, and because it’s from a TV show you can totally get away with it and they can’t even get mad

Girl, monkey, pointing finger, no symbol, lightbulb, Santa

Genre: Movie phrases you might quote in a moment of turn-of-the-millenium nostalgia

Cold face, snowflake, inbox, check, bull, bull, bull, low visibility sky

Genre: Famous lines from literature that, it turns out, have a lot of real world applications

Praying boy, top hat, ramen bowl, right arrow, ramen bowl, ramen bowl

Genre: Played out Internet pranks (that, admit it, you still sometimes laugh at)


Challenge genre: Pseudo-rap breakdowns from life-changing pop songs


Want the answers? Here you go.

Jessica Stahl is editor for social, search and communities on The Post's digital audience team.

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Caitlin Dewey · July 3, 2014