Jason England

Instagram analyses how the world uses emojis

Jason England
Instagram analyses how the world uses emojis

Love or hate them, emojis are becoming the language of the entire internet. Since they're taking over Instagram (nearly 50% of all captions and comments have an emoji or two), the website's engineers have begun researching how people are using the yellow-faced emoticons, seeing which countries are using them most and deciphering the meaning we have put behind each face.

Before we start, yes. 😂 is the most popular character used on Instagram (not surprisingly).

Breaking down by country, UK are pretty high up the table in terms of emoji usage, beaten only by France (50%) and Finland (63%). Further down the table, you see Japan, USA, Australia, Canada and Tanzania with only 10%.

After this, the engineers then got to work on the individual meaning of our mostly used emojis. To gather conclusions for this, they used an algorithm which looked at the context of the words surrounding it. With this, they can get to a pretty decent level of definition, some of which falls in line with what you expected whereas others did now.

  • 😂 (ranked 1st in emoji usage): lolol, lmao, lololol, lolz, lmfao, lmaoo, lolololol, lol, ahahah, ahahha, loll, ahaha, ahah, lmfaoo, ahha, lmaooo, lolll, lollll, ahahaha, ahhaha, lml, lmfaooo
  • 😍 (ranked 2nd in emoji usage): beautifull, gawgeous, gorgeous, perfff, georgous, gorgous, hottt, goregous, cuteeee, beautifullll, georgeous, baeeeee, hotttt, babeee, sexyyyy, perffff, hawttt
  • ❤ (ranked 3rd in emoji usage): xoxoxox, xoxoxo, xoxo, xoxoxoxo, xoxoxoxoxo, xoxoxoxox, xxoo, oxox, babycakes, muahhhh, mwahh, babe, boobear, loveyou, bunches, muahhh, muahh, xoxox, muahhhhh
  • 👍(ranked 9th in emoji usage): #keepitup, #fingerscrossed, aswell, haha, #impressed, #yourock, lol, #greatjob, bud, #goodjob, awesome, good, #muchlove, #proudofyou, job, #goodluck
  • 😭(ranked 11th in emoji usage): ughh, ughhh, ughhhh, ugh, uggh, ugghh, ughhhhh, ughhhhhh, ugggh, lolol, wahhhh, rn, oml, uhg, agh, xc, omgg, omfg, omf, lololol, whyyy, loll, wahhhhh, tooo, kms

Some of the more distinctive emoji had particularly distinctive meanings:

  • 🙌: #waitonit, #justwaitonit, #wonthedoit, #nuffsaid, #yeslawd, #youtherealmvp, #stayblessed, #thatisall, thou, #enoughsaid, leggo, #onlythebeginning
  • 👯: #sistasista, #sistersforlife, #sistersister, #bestiesforlife, yearsoffriendship, #sisterfromanothermister, #morelikesisters, #bffl, #bestiesfortheresties, #bestfriendsforever
  • 💃: #birthdaybehavior, #bdaybehavior, #tu, #ladiesnight, #turnuptime, #dontmissit, #bdaycelebration, #piscesseason, #bethere, turnup, #grownandsexy
  • 🎅: merry, christmas, #merrychristmas, #christmas2014, #christmaseve, #christmastime, xmas, eve, #santa, claus, #happyholidays, #xmas, clause, reindeer, pesach

Naturally, people have strong associations with the flag emoji:

  • 🇺🇸 : merica, #godblessamerica, ‘merica, #murica, #merica, #hooah, #america, #specialforces, #supportourtroops, #goarmy, #redwhiteandblue
  • 🇫🇷 : paris, france, #eiffeltower, #paris, #france, louvre, italy, #montreal
  • 🇯🇵 : #japan, #osaka, #kyoto, #japanese, japan, taipei, osaka, beijing, taiwan, tokyo, #日本

If one thing is clear, the language of emojis is quickly evolving with not just individual faces but (with Apple's update) individual colours to tell different stories. It's always fascinating to see how the human population gravitates towards new languages, but what are your thoughts on this language?

I am the Founder and Editor-in-chief of New Rising Media. You can follow me on Twitter @MrJasonEngland.