Where does come from?
Raised hand emoji was released under Unicode 6.0 in 2010. The emoji appears as a single raised hand, with fingers together and the thumb pointing out to the side. It’s similar to the sign a crossing guard might make to indicate a driver or walker should stop. While its default color is yellow, skin-tone modifiers are available for raised hand emoji.
The raised hand emoji has a range of tone. It can be negative. For example, it can convey “Stop bothering me” or “Don’t do that anymore” (e.g., talk to the hand).
I can't deal with your negativity ✋🏼✋🏼✋🏼✋🏼✋🏼✋🏼✋🏼✋🏼
— Megan Greenwood (@megang_) May 21, 2015
It can also be more positive, expressing the fervor, say, of raising your hands in religious worship.
— Denny Ligan (@DennyDublin) September 18, 2018
Who uses ?
True to its name, the raised hand emoji can be a digital form of raising one’s hand (e.g., speaking up, voicing agreement, asking for a show of hands).
Show of hands if you’ve been used as “diversity” in PWI marketing materials ✋🏽
— Jarlisa (@jarlisaart) September 20, 2018
The raised hand emoji can be used in place of an in-person high five. Sometimes, it can even be accompanied by a paw shake from an animal friend.
Give me Five✋ pic.twitter.com/BRUS5XLbp4
— Back To Nature (@backt0nature) August 26, 2018
The emoji is popular in sports, frequently used in a similar manner as the woman/man raised hand emoji (🙋♀️,🙋♂️). Here it can be used to say, for example, “Yes, I’m ready for some tennis”:
First day of the #WTA season!
Who's ready for tennis ✋ pic.twitter.com/Pint3UMemy
— WTA (@WTA) December 31, 2016
It is often featured in ad campaigns. For example, the raised hand emoji has been used on New Year’s Eve to discourage people from drinking and driving as a forceful “stop” or “don’t.”
— Eat Drink SETX (@eatdrinksetx) December 31, 2016
Although not always political in tone, raised hand emoji can be used in this context. Some tweeters use raised hand emoji to signal protest.
— ☁AaronTheMarketer☁ (@Iamaarontm) December 4, 2014