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A start-up has set out to change the emoji as we know it with a unique keyboard that uses your selfies

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MeJi, a dynamic keyboard which allows users to create their own emojis, has launched in Australia.

“In a world dominated by the emoji and the selfie we decided it made sense to bring them together. Direct to the keyboard,” said Yellow Snail, the Melbourne start-up behind the new keyboard.

MeJi combines the in-the-moment sharing capabilities of Snapchat with the functionality of popular messaging apps. It lets you build personalised emojis through an inbuilt image function or, for the more adventurous, create a dynamic emoji in the film area.

As social messenger services continue adding new emojis to keep users on their platform, MeJi sits above, and in, any social network operating as a dynamic keyboard that can be accessed in any platform, at any time, without leaving a conversation.

It works in your usual suspects – text, email and the like as well as Messenger, Google Hangouts, WhatsApp, LINE, WeChat. It will work on Facebook too soon once it allows gif function in posts.

You access it while using the keyboard function and simply drop either a photo or gif into whatever social network or messaging app you are using.

Once downloaded you need to allow the keyboard access. Then you just take a photo with the MeJi app and if you like it, you save it to your gallery and favourite your most used ones.

Meji

What is the story behind MeJi?

MeJi marks Yellow Snail’s first venture into the social market and one of the founders, David Hearne, believes personalised emojis are the next step in the evolution of instant messaging.

He got the idea for the unique keyboard while reading an article on emojis.

“It amazed me that they are massive in Asia as they bypass language barriers, however, when read by the recipient they do not stimulate the same emotive triggers as images,” David told Anthill. “From there I came up the idea of emoji yourself.”

“The rise of the selfie meant it felt like there were a number of trends all folding into this one idea. Plus you have the function of image and gif so it starts to play into Snapchat and WhatsApp territories. When in development we wanted this to sit across them all so a dynamic keyboard allowed this to happen.”

The release of MeJi is only the first step in Yellow Snails’ plan. An Android version of the keyboard is in development along with a platform extension that allow users to produce, share and sell their own emojis direct to other users without leaving the conversation.

The start-up, which David (who works in advertising and media) has co-founded with digital professional Berry Driessen and developer Simon Berman, has backing in the US, European and Asian markets and plans to launch there once they have finalised the Android version in the coming weeks.

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