Finland's foreign ministry has launched a set of official emojis, and a once-ubiquitous Nokia handset is among them.
More than 30 icons will be available for people to download, representing "important things associated with Finland", the ministry says. The first three to be unveiled depict a man and woman enjoying a sauna, a Nokia 3310 - beloved by many who remember the pre-smartphone era - and a headbanger, reflecting Finns' affection for hard rock. "The Finland emojis were designed with a tongue-in-cheek approach," says Director of Public Diplomacy Petra Theman. "But I hope they will tell the world not only about our special features, but also something about our strengths. One example is disarming honesty."
Designed in conjunction with a marketing agency, the emojis will also feature in anonline advent calendar available in 13 languages - including Chinese, Arabic and Hindi. The ministry says Finland is the first country in the world to launch its own emojis.
The Ilta-Sanomat newspaper has asked readers to vote on whether they like the designs or not, and so far people seem happy - of more than 4,400 votes, 75% approve. But those who took the time to comment were more sceptical. One person describes the heavy metal association as "so cheesy" and another points out that saunas could also represent Finland's neighbouring countries. "Let's spread Finnish stereotypes around the internet," one person says dryly. There are also some suggestions for what should feature among the remaining emojis - from the simple idea of a Finnish flag, to a bottle of vodka.
A Princeton PhD, was a US diplomat for over 20 years, mostly in Eastern Europe, and was promoted to the Senior Foreign Service in 1997. For the Open World Leadership Center, he speaks with
its delegates from Europe/Eurasia on the topic, "E Pluribus Unum? What Keeps the United States United." Affiliated with Georgetown University for over ten years, he shares ideas with students about public diplomacy.
The papers of his deceased father -- poet and diplomat John L. Brown -- are stored at Georgetown University Special Collections at the Lauinger Library. They are manuscript materials valuable to scholars interested in post-WWII U.S.-European cultural relations.
This blog is dedicated to him, Dr. John L. Brown, a remarkable linguist/humanist who wrote in the Foreign Service Journal (1964) -- years before "soft power" was ever coined -- that "The CAO [Cultural Affairs Officer] soon comes to realize that his job is really a form of love-making and that making love is never really successful unless both partners are participating."