The Brief: The shrug emoji indicates nonchalance or ignorance.

Bluesquiggle
DEEP DIVE

One might use this emoji earnestly in order to communicate a genuine lack of knowledge on a particular topic. The shrug can also signify a nonchalant or apathetic attitude. A more humorous use might be to pair the emoji with a contrastingly urgent sentiment.

Preceding the shrug emoji was the shrug emoticon:Β Β―\_(ツ)_/Β―. Some users still use this version in order to create an exaggerated sense of non-concern. More creative users will replace the emoticon’s central smiley-face with other emojis, usually related to the context of their whole statement.