According to one Professor Vyv Evans of Bangor University, "Emoji" is the fastest-growing language in the UK.
Yes, Emoji. Those pictures on your phones. The ones on that extra keyboard that you couldn't figure out how to activate for months. Yeah, those.
Perhaps realising that we soon won't be able to communicate through anything but tiny faces and shrimps, New York's public radio station (WNYC) has launched a "subway agony index" using emoji to indicate line statuses. At a glance, you can see whether a line is running smoothly, or is likely to aggravate you to angry tears through delays and overcrowding.
WNYC's website explains that the station's data team are "trying to estimate agony on the NYC subway" through the index. The team monitors the time it takes for trains to get to each station, and adds "unhappy points" for stations typically crowded at rush hour.
Here are the lines as this morning's rush hour in NYC:
The system only covers lines 1 through 6X, but it also gives an emoji rating for individual stations along each line. Here are the stations along line 5's uptown section earlier today:
London's underground system currently has no such index. Instead, it's reliant on boring old words to describe whatever transport horrors await:
So in order to make sure our compadres across the pond don't trump us in the subway stakes, we decided to make our own tube map, with an emoji for each station in Zone 1. Some reflect speed of service and business (Oxford Circus, we're looking at you); others are a little more, er, abstract.