Rise of the Aerial Tramway
November 22, 2018 5:52 PM   Subscribe

It started innocently enough: @LeastUsedEmoji was a bot created to find out which emoji (according to Emojitracker) was least popular on Twitter. Suspension railway (๐ŸšŸ) ceded the spot to non-potable water (๐Ÿšฑ) after only a day, which after 80 days itself ceded to aerial tramway (๐Ÿšก). And ๐Ÿšก might have been stuck at the bottom for a long time were it not for a large group of rowdy transit-oriented teens.

On Jul 4, 2018, ๐Ÿšก had been at the bottom for 60 days when a post to the public-transport-positive Facebook group New Urbanist Memes for Transit-Oriented Teens drew attention to its plight. Replies to the bot spiked, jumping from one or two to dozens. A week went by. Two. Bigger names started to highlight the tramway's plight. Articles were written, varying in support. Finally, after 77 days, the tramway was lifted out of obscurity, with ๐Ÿ”  (input symbol for latin capital letters) taking its place.

๐Ÿšก's safety seemed assured; so the slip back into last place ten days ago came as a shock to transport fans. ๐Ÿ”  had garnered its own linguist fanbase in this time, and the position began to change daily if not hourly. Battle lines were drawn. The founding of the Aerial Tramway / Latin Capital Letters Alliance (#ATLISA) spurred controversy with its aims of promoting clean water and toppling the 4th place contender ๐Ÿšฑ. Hardliners on either side saw it as betrayal, but nevertheless today the goal was accomplished (if only briefly). The ranking remains tumultuous, with ๐Ÿ”ค (input symbol for latin letters) swept up in the fray among the other three.
posted by solarion (25 comments total) 19 users marked this as a favorite
As they say in Arlington and on ArlNow.com

posted by 922257033c4a0f3cecdbd819a46d626999d1af4a at 6:05 PM on November 22, 2018

God, I love the internet.
posted by mhoye at 6:23 PM on November 22, 2018 [12 favorites]

Okay, Iโ€™ve been participating in this, donโ€™t judge me. I even have a shortcut on my phone set up for ๐Ÿšก. (Thereโ€™s no point in putting more than one of those in a tweet โ€” I looked at Emojitrackerโ€™s source and it only counts one per tweet.) Honestly the last few days have been more interesting than a lot of sports games Iโ€™ve watched over the years. I was shocked the first time ๐Ÿšฑ showed up earlier today. Itโ€™s fun. Really! DONโ€™T JUDGE ME.
posted by Ampersand692 at 6:33 PM on November 22, 2018 [7 favorites]

/sits down heavily, sighs heavily.

See, the thing is ... (inhale) ... the thing is that I am a certain type of person ... (exhale) ... the type of person who judges.

(fiddles with gun belt)

It's not that I want to ... of course.


It's that I have to. It's who I am. It's in my bones, same as this thing is in yours.

(fiddles with hammer on pistol)


...so the thing of it is, you see ... (inhale) ... is that it's now time.

For you. For me.

/stands up

posted by aramaic at 6:43 PM on November 22, 2018 [1 favorite]

NUMTOT gives me hope for our youth
posted by q*ben at 6:45 PM on November 22, 2018 [7 favorites]

I used aerial tramway organically in slack earlier this week. Possibly my first use ever. My coworker freaked out and shared this saga with me. So happy to lend a hand to a just cause!
posted by thejoshu at 7:24 PM on November 22, 2018 [2 favorites]

- But what's a tramway?

- A few dozen tonnes, why do you ask?
posted by a car full of lions at 7:31 PM on November 22, 2018 [20 favorites]

As they say in Arlington and on ArlNow.com


Huh. Apparently I'm out of touch with the old hometown, I had no idea that a Rosslyn-Georgetown gondola had been under discussion.
posted by tavella at 7:44 PM on November 22, 2018

Huh. Apparently I'm out of touch with the old hometown, I had no idea that a Rosslyn-Georgetown gondola had been under discussion.

Oh yes. And since the 'Independent' lost election this fall, the Gondola NOW calls have grown louder.

The decision
posted by 922257033c4a0f3cecdbd819a46d626999d1af4a at 8:03 PM on November 22, 2018 [2 favorites]

Is the idea to reduce the single-tube Metro chokepoint under the Potomac? I wouldn't think there'd be enough point to point traffic for just those two places otherwise.
posted by tavella at 8:16 PM on November 22, 2018

Georgetown Hospital workers need a quick way to get across the river and some think it's cheaper than digging another portal under the Potomac.
posted by 922257033c4a0f3cecdbd819a46d626999d1af4a at 8:19 PM on November 22, 2018 [3 favorites]

โ€ฆand after 13 hours, ๐Ÿšก is back in last place. Just when I thought I was outโ€ฆ
posted by Ampersand692 at 10:06 PM on November 22, 2018 [2 favorites]

Why is it so hard for the little sky tram. Everyone I know is on our side, who's out there organically using the input signal for Latin capital letters?
posted by AnhydrousLove at 11:02 PM on November 22, 2018 [5 favorites]

I took an aerial tramway a few months ago, posted about doing so on social media, knew about ๐Ÿšกโ€™s least used emoji status, had a legitimate chance to use it, but I forgot to actually do so. Iโ€™m so disappointed in myself.
posted by zsazsa at 11:10 PM on November 22, 2018 [3 favorites]

I got pretty amusobsessed with this a few months ago, but managed to step away... but now I find myself drawn back in. I'm definitely on team All the Emojis.

Let us all rise up together, in an aerial tramway, with writing, lots of writing, and water you shouldn't drink.

๐Ÿšก ๐Ÿ”  ๐Ÿ”ค ๐Ÿšฑ
posted by Kattullus at 12:45 AM on November 23, 2018 [2 favorites]

As a former Pittsburgher, I must ask where is the emoji for an incline?
posted by kinnakeet at 3:20 AM on November 23, 2018 [2 favorites]

If you squint and suppress a lot of ingrained cultural information, this might be an incline emoji:

posted by Kattullus at 3:47 AM on November 23, 2018

Also, clearly the true revolutionary should aim to topple the sixth least used emoji, ๐Ÿ›‚ passport control, as a first step towards erasing all borders, dismantling the Westphalian nation-state, and turning all passports into poetry chapbooks or paper airplanes.
posted by Kattullus at 3:56 AM on November 23, 2018 [10 favorites]

Boston wants a ๐Ÿšก too!(for certain infinitesimal approximation of 'Boston')
posted by sammyo at 5:22 AM on November 23, 2018

numtot is trash public housing memes for socialist teens is where it's at these days
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 7:51 AM on November 23, 2018 [1 favorite]

We have a๐Ÿšก in Portland. It sounds a lot like the Virginia case, as it connect two parts of the Oregon Health Science University campus, one at the edge of the Willamette River and one at the top of the hill and on the other side of a freeway. It was late and over budget, but kinda cute.

Disney is building ๐Ÿšก at Walt Disney World. The Disney Skyliner gondolas will connect resort hotels to theme parks, supplementing bus and ๐Ÿš lines.
posted by chrchr at 8:02 AM on November 23, 2018

hegelian dialectics in action:
- thesis ๐Ÿšก
- antithesis ๐Ÿ” 
- synthesis ๐Ÿšฑ

posted by AnhydrousLove at 8:55 AM on November 23, 2018 [1 favorite]

I've used ๐Ÿšฑ in slack a lot; it became an in-joke alternative to "wat" when that was a thing.

It makes me happy to know it's so rarely used.
posted by Ickster at 9:07 AM on November 23, 2018

Emojitracker stats are cumulative. There ought to be another site/bot that shows anomalously high/low usage of an emoji over the past 24 hours.
posted by cichlid ceilidh at 8:37 AM on November 24, 2018

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