Until recently, if you punched in an emoji character in your tweet, it turned into tiny squares when you posted the tweet. That is changing now as Twitter has announced official support for emoji characters.
Emoji characters are the tiny icons that have evolved from emoticons. Previously, there was no official support for these characters and if you included them in a tweet, Twitter automatically turned them to tiny, square boxes when posting them.
It is quite possible that Twitter’s increasingly mobile focus has brought about this decision. The emoticons are typically available to smartphone users and support for them can spike Twitter’s usage among these mobile users.
However, there are still some limitations. If you embed a tweet containing an emoji character on another website, the emoji characters will not be visible. Rather, the embedded tweet will feature the familiar square boxes. It is unclear whether or not Twitter has plans of adding emoji support to embedded tweets in the future.
It is pertinent to note here that Twitter’s evolution over the years has a remarkable resemblance to Facebook‘s. Just like Facebook started offering an official set of emoji characters to go with status updates and posts, Twitter has made the same decision now. The micro-blogging site has followed similarly in Facebook’s footsteps many time before.