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Whether on social media or in our emails, emojis are used everywhere. And in proportions that are only increasing: Internet users even use more than 7600 on Discord, every second. More than 291 billion emojis have been posted on the messaging service since its launch in 2015.
To understand the enthusiasm generated by these pictograms, Discord interviewed 16,000 people over the age of 16. More than 70% of them say that emojis bring people together. And this, whether it is friends, members of the same family, classmates or even colleagues.
The younger generations, fed with digital, are particularly fond of these small symbols representing facial expressions, activities, objects, animals and food. They feel it helps them be more honest and expressive in their digital interactions. 69% of millennials say they communicate their emotions more easily with emojis than with words, compared to 65% of Gen Zers.
It is precisely for this purpose that Shigetaka Kurita invented them at the very end of the 1990s. At the time, texts were limited to 250 characters on the first messaging services, and “it was difficult to convey emotions and their nuances”, as explained by the Japanese interface designer in the documentary series “Emoji-Nation”.
Emojis have since imposed themselves in our digital exchanges to take precedence over written language. This is how the Oxford Dictionary decided to elect 😂, the symbol of the crying face, word of the year in 2015. A decision that may surprise purists, but which attests to the evolution of our way of thinking. ‘interact. “Messaging can feel impersonal, but emojis help bring a little bit of self into the conversation,” says Connor Blakley, founder and CEO of YouthLogic, in Discord’s report.
Good in your body, good in your head!
Graphic icons that are more expressive than they appear
Although ubiquitous online, emojis are constantly being reinterpreted. Nearly eight in ten respondents say their meaning varies depending on who they send them to. Gourmets can use the carrot emoji to designate the orange root that rabbits love, while antivaccines use it to talk about vaccination against Covid-19, without being worried by the moderation policy of social networks.
Everyone therefore appropriates the emojis as they wish. The phenomenon is such that 44% of Internet users surveyed by Discord say they use some more than others. But those personal preferences don’t stop them from enjoying the thousands of other graphic icons out there. They even have a positive effect on the emotional state of the recipient: 72% of respondents agree that emojis make them smile when they feel sad.
No wonder for Neil Cohn, doctor of cognitive science and specialist in emojis. “Although they are graphic, we often perceive emojis as faces. And the sight of another’s smiling face is often enough to inspire us to do the same,” he said in Discord’s report. .
Emojis are thus similar to a form of language in their own right, given that they allow people to express themselves through images representing reality. Kind of like hieroglyphs millennia ago. Like their Egyptian ancestors, emojis organize our modern societies. As proof, 43% of Internet users say that they provide them with more validation than any text or verbal statement.