Emoji everywhere, from word of the year to (maybe) Twitter

Sometimes you just don’t feel like talking — and that’s why we have a couple of news items about emoji.

First, you know emojis have made it when one of their own is named the word of the year. That’s right, the Oxford Dictionaries says the “Face with Tears of Joy” emoji, pictured above, “best reflected the ethos, mood, and preoccupations of 2015.”

How did it beat out the other actual words on the shortlist, such as “lumbersexual” or my personal favorite, “on fleek“?

Oxford says use of the “tears of joy” emoji shot up in 2015: It made up 20 percent of emoji use in the U.K., up from 4 percent, and 17 percent of emoji use in the U.S., up from 9 percent. If people have reason to be joyful or are laughing so hard they’re crying, what’s wrong with that, word snobs?

Among the other words on this year’s Oxford shortlist: sharing economy, refugee, ad blocker. Last year’s top word was vape.

Meanwhile, as the social media world turns, might Twitter’s controversial hearts be replaced by a handful of emoji? If a Twitter user’s accidental discovery is any indication, the company might be testing different emoji reactions to tweets — possibly instead of sticking with a heart (which is supposed to mean like), its recently unveiled replacement for a star (favorite). Twitter had no comment. Or did it:

If that sounds familiar, Facebook is doing the same thing, as Queenie Wong reported last month. Facebook users have long asked for a dislike button, but it’s not a thin line between like and dislike — sadness, anger, excitement are some of the emoji the company is testing.

By the way, if you’re still turning up your nose at emoji, consider how they’re no longer just for the OMG, LOL generation: LinkedIn has introduced them in professional messaging; Bill Nye has used them to explain evolution; they’ve even had their day in court. Get used to them, they’ll be staying a while.


Above screenshot: We use Oxford Dictionaries’ word of the year, plus “on fleek,” which was on the shortlist. 


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