Digital PR Expert on why Scotland will never have a flag Emoji

by Kenny Murray

Monday, November 28th, 2016

Scots have been campaigning for years for a Saltire Emoji to no avail. Our Scottish PR agency reveals why we don’t have one

Flag for post by Digital PR. Sad Emoji over Scotland flagEMOJIS are a serious business.

With celebrities designing their own and even First Ministers getting involved in Emoji-related campaigns, it’s easy to see why they live up to their name, as an emotive issue.

Scotland has had a real thirst for a flag Emoji. Since before the independence campaign in 2014, politicians and activists have been campaigning for Scotland to gain its independence on the world stage of Emojis. Unfortunately, this is never going to happen.

Will we ever have a flag to share in messages?

Sorry to break it to you – but Scotland will never have a conventional flag Emoji unless some seriously held rules and regulations are broken. Who sets these rules and regulations? Would you believe me if I said it was a secretive society which meets in California for top secret discussions about such important pictorial issues as laughing cats, poo symbols and waterguns vs pistols?

In fairness, the society isn’t really all that secret – but it’s still highly unlikely that most people in Scotland have ever heard of the Unicode Consortium, or its Emoji Sub Committee. They meet regularly to discuss the merits of different Emoji proposals and whether they fit in with the strict rules and regulations.

The Unicode Consortium isn’t willfully denying Scotland an Emoji based on political allegiances – they most likely don’t even have a view on whether Scotland should be independent or not. However, in the eyes of the internet – Scotland is not a country, but a region.

Scotland is classed as a region?

Yes, that’s right. Scotland is classed as a region, alongside US states such as North Dakota and Florida. Countries which are recognised have a domain ending such as .US, .GB or .CH and it’s this classification which decides whether you are a country in the eyes of the internet law makers.

Scotland is currently listed under .GB and therefore we qualify only for the Union Flag, which no doubt will anger some 45% of the population. However, it’s a strict rule and it is a little tough, but that’s the facts.

We have a .Scot domain – surely we should have a flag?

At the moment, we do have a .Scot domain, however, this is what internet geeks refer to as a Generic Top Level Domain, which is classed alongside other domains such as the likes of .pizza, .coffee, .florist, .sport and .bakers.

However, to qualify for a flag emoji, there must be an associated ‘country code’ Top Level Domains (known  as ccTLDs). Rather bizarrely, because of a mix up back when these ccTLDs were first applied the Union Jack flag  falls under the designation .gb, even though the vast majority of websites in this country end in .uk (don’t ask).

Is there any way to change this?

There is a huge will for a Saltire Emoji (Whatsapp even allow it in their desktop app after huge demand) but unfortunately, all the will in the world won’t permit one, unless the rules are changed. To change the rules, the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) have to meet and discuss whether a country is sufficiently independent and warrants a domain as such.

This can take years – Scotland has been campaigning for one since 1999. Yes, the battle for an Emoji flag begun long before the Emoji was born.

After this group meets and grants this status, Unicode then have to receive a proposal, a large payment and then and only then can they meet and discuss this.

So, in essence – to get an Emoji Flag Scotland needs to become an independent country, send a lot of money and a rather large proposal to IANA and then send another proposal to Unicode and then an Emoji just may happen.

It may take a while. In the meantime, why not make use of the Unicorn Emoji?  After all, it is Scotland’s National Animal.  ?

Our Digital PR expert is knowledgeable in lots of areas – not just Emoji law. If you feel you need someone to help you navigate the digital world, get in touch.

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