The social media bot can quickly find and return relevant images to the emoticon sent via Twitter

Only through emojis can one describe their impact to the way we talk online. The New York Public Library (NYPL) is showing Twitter followers where iconic emojis could have come from: tag NYPL’s emoji bot (@NYPLEmoji) with an emoji tweet and in a flash, it will reply with an image from time past – sort of like a really old cousin to the current emojis.

The matches are often based on what the emoji is and its name. A waning moon gets you the front page of a sheet music booklet from 1901, whereas an emoji of a hand pointing upwards leads you to Artist Gustave Saal's engraved print dating back from 1849.

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