If you were to comment on Instagram with actual words and phrases, you’d look out-of-place in a sea of emojis and hashtags. It makes sense that on a platform ruled by images, emoji would be the language of choice. If a picture is worth a thousand words, do emoji carry the same weight in prose? Some would consider the pictorial designs worth a few phrases at best, but a team of Instagram researchers took a look at the way users are writing on Instagram comments and found that the online language is evolving towards emoji.
Instagram Engineering reported a wide range of findings based on its own detailed, statistical analysis. For example, each of the various heart emoji employed Instagram users carries a different meaning.
💙 correlates with both Duke University sports fandom and #worldautismawarenessday.
💚 is completely overrun by #herballife shills asking people to #jointhemovement and boost their #hairskinnails.
Instagram calculated its top used emoji along with the most common accompanying hashtagss and phrases. When it comes to emoji, positive expressions rank much higher than sad or upset emoji, which makes sense because people tend to show their best side on social media.
😂 comes in at #1, attended by various incarnations of “lolol, lmfao, and ahaha”.
😍 is the second most commonly used emoji and is commonly followed by incredible mispellings like, “beautifull, gawgeous, georgous, gorgous, and goregous”. I’m not sure which is more astonishing, that statistically, no one can spell, or that no one is listening to predictive text suggestions.
In stat plot below, Instagram researcher correlated characters based on their meanings in English. Emojis that are clumped together tend to have more similar linguistic connotations. Now when you read your Instagram comments, you can be confident that 👏👏 signifies an entire sentence’s worth of praise.