Despite the resounding success of the #EmojiBZH international campaign on Twitter with over 405,000 mentions in just one month, the Brittany flag emoji was not yet approved by the Unicode Consortium. The organization www.bzh recognizes this decision, but is calling on Unicode for an explanation with the hashtag #WhatMoreDoYouNeed, as it raises questions about the attribution of emojis and cultural diversity.
In some regions in Europe such as England, Scotland, Wales, Catalonia, the Basque Country, Bavaria, and Brittany, or states in Northern America, such as California, Texas, and Quebec, people have inherited and enriched a strong culture in addition to another national identity. Regional flag emojis let residents proudly wear their identities on the web and promote their heritage and cultural diversity, and also initiate numerous online conversations.
The Unicode Consortium, which coordinates the creation of emojis with the big internet platforms (Google, Apple, Facebook, etc.) paved the way for regional emojis by creating, in 2018, the first English, Welsh and Scottish flag emojis. But does Unicode really leave room for requests from other European regions, such as Brittany?
The Brittany flag emoji dossier submitted for the latest Unicode update (14.0) was rejected, despite a successful campaign that received widespread popular support on Twitter at the beginning of 2020. This raises the obvious question of “why?” as new flag emojis are only approved for release if they meet certain conditions, one of which is an assurance upfront of their popularity and frequency of use. However, the #EmojiBZH international campaign launched on Twitter on 13 January 2020, generated 405,886 Brittany flag emoji mentions on the platform in just four weeks!
Mobilising Bretons from all over the world, the Brittany flag hashflag has received more mentions on Twitter than the average monthly mentions for other flag emojis such as the Scottish (384,156), Greek (367,257), Danish (351,966), Welsh (208,448) and Lithuanian (58,708) flags2.
Over the same period, #EmojiBZH reached 6th place on Twitter’s worldwide trends and was ahead of #Netflix (347,171 mentions), #OnePiece (293,665) and #Apple (253,586). Memes have taken over social platforms, with some brands even picking up on the subject (Interflora, Oasis, M onoprix, and Xbox) .
As the Brittany flag emoji is way ahead on mentions among 5,000 potential regional flags listed by Unicode – enter the hashtag #WhatMoreDoYouNeed.
One of Unicode’s objectives is to reflect the world’s cultural diversity, which includes flags that represent regions and their culture. The consortium actually mentions the flag emojis for Texas, Catalonia and Brittany a s the most prominent examples.
What more do you need to decide to add a regional flag emoji which is guaranteed to be widely used and enjoys the support of its country’s public authorities? Is there a cultural bias which prevents Unicode from selecting submissions that come from Europe, where citizens hold their region and its culture dear? Given that emojis are a global means of communication, how can we ensure that the emojis reflect cultural diversity when most of them currently evoke American culture?
is an organization established to create, facilitate, promote, and sponsor wide-ranging innovative and collaborative cultural and economic projects that strengthen and foster relations and cooperation between the United States of America and the region of Brittany, France.