Emoji vs. Language and the Winner is…

Emoji vs. Language and the Winner is…

The growing popularity of these colorful pictographs has prompted Instagram owner, Facebook, to look deeper into the meaning and popularity of this new trend.

In fact, in this article by the NY Times, “Nearly 40 percent of all text posted to Instagram contains at least one emoji in the photo caption,” according to Instagram.


“Using our algorithm, we find that many of our popular emoji have meaning in-line with early Internet slang,” said Instagram software engineer Thomas Dimson, in this article by PC Mag. “Emoji usage is shifting the people’s vocabulary on Instagram and becoming an important means of expression,” Dimson added. “By observing words and emojis together we are able to discern representations of both. These representations can help us better understand the semantics and find distinctive characteristics of similar symbols.”

Mike Isaac offers an interesting perspective in his article for the NY Times and points out that Instagram discovered that as emoji trended up, the use of Internet slang trended down, and that, actually, the two trends were strongly correlated. Now you know why you’re seeing less use of “LOL” on Instagram photo captions, where that is now being supplanted by smiley face emoji.

“Yet emoji, however inelegant as they may seem, have become a language of their own, a way to transcend the limits of one’s native tongue to communicate with others worldwide,” added Mr. Isaac. He also points out that, “Apple and Google officially embraced emoji keyboards on their devices in 2011 and 2013. Emoji use has soared across many services, not just Instagram.”

So, how soon before we start seeing emoji use in advertising proper?

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[Image courtesy of PC Magazine]