When emojis first started popping up in random social media spots, I thought, “Eh, they won’t last.” But then I starting using the funny little graphics myself in iMessages and on Instagram comments, and suddenly emojis sort of became my jam. So I was happy to hear about the Facecon app, which allows you to make custom emoji using your own your face.
Well, yes — mostly.
I definitely give the app points for ease-of-use. It’s clean and simple to navigate. All you have to do is snap a few close-up selfies showing off a range of facial expressions, and then tack on the other layers. You can add movement: dancing, screaming, slapping something, or falling asleep straphanging on the subway, for example. Or change your hair color, hair cut, face shape. You can also adjust the pattern in your background as well as your shirt. All of this qualifies as the fun part, for me.
What was less fun? The limitations on diversity when it comes to hair styles and skin color. Having the ability to create a little brown-skinned emoticon face with big, curly hair would have taken the fun level up several pegs in my books. And probably a lot of other people’s books.
There’s no way to change the paper-white skin of my tester custom emoji, which actually made the end result look a little creepy.
Widening the margins on diversity when it comes to these little characters isn’t new. Video game consoles like Wii and PlayStation have been allowing users to make avatars that look like them for years now. And according to the latest breaking emoji news from our friends at Buzzfeed, it seems Unicode, the group that oversees how emoji icons look and work on our devices, proposed an update that would allow for five new skin tones reflecting true diversity.
A small tweak, yes, but it will mean a world of difference for the user experience in apps like Facecon. And hey, even Apple has vowed to make their emoji keyboard more diverse.
All said, Facecon app is free and easy. Teens and tweens (and — yep — parents, too) will definitely enjoy the countless custom emoji here for the making. We just need a new name for it. Hm, emoji + selfie. Selfmoji?