My boyfriend and I have an affinity for turtles, because they’re a good reminder to not rush things in life. I sometimes text him turtle emojis. But now, tweeting a turtle can help save real endangered turtles in the wild.
The nonprofit WWF is running a fundraising campaign based around 17 animal emojis. Each digital creature has been designated to represent a real endangered species. So, the emoji turtle represents the green turtle species, which is threatened by the illegal trade of their meat, shells and eggs. According to the campaign, each of the selected animals are on the IUCN Red List, and are symbolized by the emojis from the Unicode Standard 6.0 document—so users with both iOS and Android devices can participate.
It’s often easy to criticize social media campaigns as “slacktivism” that does little to change life offline, but this campaign is asking Twitter users to put their money where their emojis are. That has the potential to make a bigger impact than your typical re-tweet. It will be interesting to see how much money the campaign is able to raise.
You can learn more about the campaign at EndangeredEmoji.com.