A new study by the University of Southern California has discovered that emojis reveal more about the human condition than you’d think. In fact, Research Assistant Professor Mayank Kejriwal believes that our emoji usage could signify the trends and events in our current world. Kejriwal, a researcher in the field of industrial and systems engineering at the University of Southern California, has gauged and analyzed social media trends to unveil how human beings make sense of emojis. Here’s why people use a certain kind of emoji more than others.
Emojis That Are More Popular Than Others
The research revealed that there were some emojis that were being used more than others. But what was surprising was that humans leaned toward similar kinds of emojis despite being from different cultures, societies, and nationalities. With greater access to the internet with companies like Charter Spectrum cable, people have also learned more about other cultures. The study unveiled that people’s choices seemed very universal.
The most widely-used emojis were the ones that symbolize emotions or reactions. These include laughing, crying, angry, and sad emojis. Regardless of location, a large number of people seem to choose emojis that express emotion or an emotional state. Apart from this, hearts and smiling emojis are also very popular with a significant portion of the world’s population. Kejriwal believes this is because humans are emotional creatures
Emoji Usage Based on Geography
What emojis people use can also be based on geography and nationality. Professor Mayank Kejriwal has revealed that the language you speak and the country you belong to can also have an effect on the type of emojis you use. This is also because different geographical locations have different views, opinions, and emotional states based on varying factors like socio-political conditions and even the climate. For instance, countries in the West tend to make more use of smiling faces. Most countries used both the heart and the smiling emojis very frequently. However, the study found that in the Middle East, blue hearts were used more. In contrast, South American countries favored the red heart over others.
The Link Between Emotions and Emojis
Kejriwal observed that when people see an image or a post that is likely to invoke an intense emotion, they use emojis instead of words. For instance, when users come across memes, they are likely to react with an emoji instead of using words. In addition to this, it’s also simply easier to just send emojis instead of typing up words.
The Experiential Emoji
The study found that while experiential emojis were not as popular as emotional emojis, they still were used by a large number of people. These emojis include symbols related to sports, objects, and the weather. Kejriwal found that the use of these types of emojis was mostly based on location and events. For instance, people on the beach would use emojis related to the sun, umbrellas, and beach balls. Similarly, events such as Halloween or Christmas parties would involve more festive emojis including balloons, sweets, and, Christmas treats.
It was also revealed that nationalistic emojis such as flags and similar symbols weren’t used to a great degree. However, their use rises exponentially in situations like sports events, independence days, or national celebrations. Apart from this, these kinds of emojis weren’t used too frequently.
Expanded Use of Emojis
Recently, Microsoft expanded the number of emojis available on its platforms. The tech giant stated that it was doing this because it wanted a more accurate representation of the current world. According to Kejriwal, this growing role of emojis is an encouraging sign. It may mean that humans are more in touch with their emotions this way. He also believes that by using emojis, people are encouraged to be more expressive and emotionally mature. This is especially true for people who aren’t very expressive.
The Bottom Line
While the study revealed some very important information regarding the human condition, one of the most interesting results was the universality of emoji usage. According to Kejriwal, language, culture, or geography don’t matter much when it comes to emojis and expressions. Regardless of language, most emoji usage seems to follow similar trends. The research team considered important questions like what makes an emoji more popular than others? And how has globalization affected the realm of emojis? After careful analysis of trends on social media platforms such as Twitter, the research team discovered that humans are inclined towards similar behavior. They’re emotional beings, so they choose tools that make them express their emotions better.
Emojis have been around ever since the internet came into existence. While these were initially very different from what they are today and were called emoticons, they served the same purpose. Adding some color and depth to online conversations. But their popularity saw a sharp rise only after the advent of social media sites like Twitter. Today, they’re one of the most commonly used forms of communication.