The pandemic has affected almost all aspects of modern life, from the way we dress to the food we eat to how we spend our time. However, there is one thing that has remained almost unchanged: the emojis we send.
According to statistics From the Unicode Consortium, the organization that maintains standards for digital text, nine of the 10 most used emoji from 2019 (which is the last time they released data) also ranked in the top 10 this year. The red heart emoji took the number 2 spot, and the tears of joy emoji was ranked number 1, while the Gen Z . was a member of consider it useless (with side parts and skinny jeans).
It should come as no surprise to those who create and study emoji that tears of joy, also known as the laughing emoji, persist.
“It speaks to how many people use emoji. If emoji were a purely Gen Z thing, you wouldn’t see it rank so high,” said Alexander Robertson, an emoji researcher at Google. “Due to the sheer number of people who use emoji, even if one group thinks something is lame, they really have to be a big enough group to influence these statistics.”
And it’s understandable that Gen Z would think that some emoji aren’t hip, said Jennifer Daniels, an emoji subcommittee chair for Unicode and a creative director at Google. It is part of the adolescent experience of “creating a sense of a subculture where there is a right way and a wrong way to behave.”
In addition, Ms. Daniel said, there is a “spectrum” of laughter that can be expressed through text: “There is mild laughter. There is acknowledgment laughter, which is a sign of sympathy.” The face of the skull (“I die Using an emoji such as a weeping face (uncontrollable tears of laughter)) or a crying face (uncontrollable tears of laughter) can help clarify that boundary.
However, given a singular platform, some may tell a different story. According to data sourced from Twitter, tears of joy were the most tweeted emoji in 2020, but dropped to number 2 this year, with crying faces taking their place. Tears of Joy saw a 23 percent drop in usage from 2020 to 2021.
But the fact that most of the top 10 in Unicode’s data set, which covers multiple platforms and apps, remained fairly consistent, also shows how flexible the current set of emoji is.
“It basically indicates that we have a wide range of expressions, or even very specific concepts needed to be communicated,” Ms Daniel said. “You don’t necessarily need a Covid emoji or vaccination emoji because you have biceps, syringes, Band-Aids, which semantically mean the same thing.” Ms Daniel said that at the beginning of the pandemic, people used the microbe, or virus, emoji and the crown emoji to refer to Covid (in Spanish, “corona” translates to “crown”).
The syringe emoji jumped to 193rd place in terms of total usage this year, compared to 282nd in 2019. The microbe also increased from 1,086th to 477th in 2019.
While the past is not the same as it was two years ago, the emotions we expressed through emoji were still largely familiar.
“We saw an increase in the use of the virus emoji, but not in a way that even remotely made it into the most used emoji because we still had a lot to laugh about and a lot to cry about, no matter what. Be it because of the pandemic or not,” said Lauren Gavane, co-host of the podcast “Lingathusiasm” and a senior lecturer in linguistics at La Trobe University in Melbourne, Australia.
“Even in the midst of this huge global pandemic that has so much of our time busy,” said Ms. Gavane, “we still spent a lot of time wishing each other happy birthdays or laughing or learning about some new and unexpected element of it.” Is. Slow burning weirdness. ,