Lobster is a Maine icon; Angus King wants it to be an emoji too

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U.S. Sen. Angus King made a formal request on behalf of Mainers, fishermen and foodies this week.

Please, Unicode Consortium, create a lobster emoji.

“Because no existing emoji accurately capture the species, it would complete a set of emoji representing crustaceans commonly consumed as food items, and it would respond to significant public demand,” King wrote to the consortium Friday.

To pre-empt any argument that there are already enough sea creatures in emoji land — and, really, aren’t crabs and lobsters the same thing anyway? —  King added that “neither the existing crab nor shrimp emoji can be effectively used to represent a lobster, which has a distinctively different profile.”

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The Unicode Consortium is a nonprofit, California-based group that decides which software standards should be adopted internationally. Such standards allow a text from Japan, for example, to be read on an American phone. Emojis are part of that.

Most major websites, apps and operating systems use the characters set by the consortium.

Anyone can ask for a new emoji, but the competition is fierce. The consortium considers things like how frequently people would use the new emoji and whether it would be distinct enough from current emojis. 

A spokesman for King said the senator learned about the need for a lobster emoji from a grass-roots movement on social media.

“With his interest in both the lobster industry and social media, it seemed like a perfect fit. It’s a fun way to highlight the importance of lobster for Maine’s culture and economy,” Jack Faherty said.

Emojis exist for crab, shrimp, fish and other marine animals, but not lobster.

In his two-page letter, King requested the lobster “so that people who fish, process, serve, eat, or otherwise admire the lobster can accurately express themselves in emoji form.”

He also detailed the ratio of lobster-related terms to crab-related terms used in web searches and on Instagram. The lobster came out ahead.

“A new lobster emoji would fill a necessary and unique void in the current Emoji List, and, should it be added, appears destined for significant usage by lobster fans around the world,” King wrote. 

The letter comes just before National Lobster Day.

In July, King, an independent, and Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, introduced a resolution to designate Sept. 25, 2017, as National Lobster Day. The U.S. Senate unanimously passed the resolution in August.

New emojis are expected to be announced in 2018.

ltice@sunjournal.com

Emojis currently exist for crab, shrimp, fish and other marine animals, but not lobster.

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