What Exactly Is This Emoji Doing?

Every time that Apple introduces a new batch of emojis, there’s always a batch of boring adds, some cool stuff, and one or two freaks to liven up the proceedings. For Apple iOS 16.4, meet the resident weirdo: this bizarre wobbly face emoji.

What exactly is this guy supposed to be represent? Is it simply a rolling cranium, like some sort of PacMan reboot, or is it falling down, like some of my coworkers thought?

I actually asked a few other people in office, what they thought this emoji was up to. One person thought it was the face of someone tripping, another respondent figured that this dude was listening to music, and that the little lines near his face represented the tunes.

According to veritable emoji bible Emojipedia, this new emoji is the “Shaking Face,” which “finds its origins in the comic book and cartoon trope of a shaking face.”

I daresay that shaking faces go beyond “trope” and into reality but, then again, who am I to question Emojipedia.

Either way, the article does helpfully list some of the uses for this new emoji, like “shaking caused by strong emotions such as shock, fear, confusion, disbelief, anticipation, and excitement.” Indeed!

More importantly, it displays every iteration of the shaking face emoji.

I now find the original version terribly endearing, as the intent is much clearer with, say, Samsung and Google’s takes. The lack of motion blur and exaggerated shock go a long way, taking this guy from weirdly indifferent to utterly rattled.

Even Facebook got it right! Really makes you think. Heck, might even make you 🫨

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