Emojis rising in popularity, now account for almost half of comments on Instagram: Research

Forget plain old text - emojis are fast turning into the new language of choice on social media, according to researchers at Instagram.

The mobile photo-sharing app, which currently has more than 300 million users, has revealed that the cute pictorial icons are used in almost 40 per cent of its text comments.

This is in stark contrast to the tiny symbols appearing in just 10 per cent of comments in 2010.

Instagram's lead researcher on the topic, Thomas Dimson, said: "It is a rare privilege to observe the rise of a new language.

"On Instagram, emojis are becoming a valid and near-universal method of expression in all languages."

Emoji keyboards were first introduced by Apple on its iOS system in2011, while Android followed suit in 2013. It is becoming so popular on Instagram that it recently introduced emoji-capable hashtags. 

The research also found that usage of acronym-based slang such as LOL has also dropped, from about 10 per cent to just 5 per cent.

According to digital news outlet Quartz, it was discovered that a single emoji could have several different meanings in similar contexts.

It also reported that the social media networking site had ranked emoji use across countries, with Finland emerging top of the pile - 63 per cent of text comments by users in the country contain at least one emoji.

Japan, which first pioneered the emoji (also known as "picture letters"), was eighth on the list.


This article was first published on May 7, 2015.
Get a copy of Digital Life, The Straits Times or go to straitstimes.com for more stories.