Emojis — images or icons used to express ideas or emotions in texts, emails and social media apps — are quickly becoming the universal language on Instagram. Happy faces, hearts and kissing lips abound — there are 866 emojis in total — are being used as the go-to shorthand more than ever.
According to an Instagram report this week on the rise of emojis, almost half of the text — or about every second word — we use on Instagram is an emoji. The report reveals that emojis are slowly becoming a language of their own, with the “crying laughing” icon being the most popular.
In addition to replacing sentences and words, emojis are also replacing internet jargon such as “omg” and “lol.” According to Instagram, the most popular emoji “have meanings in-line with early internet slang”:
Invented in Japan as a method for sending pics between phones, emojis furiously caught on in the U.S. after emoji keyboards in iOS 5 and on Android became available. The graph below reveals the upward trend of emojis with Android and Instagram users, with continued growth showing in 2015.
Among all countries, Finland ranks first in emoji use on Instagram, with over 60% of text from the country comprised of emojis. The graph below shows the percentage of users by countries using emojis in texts.
Whether you like it or not, emojis are “becoming a valid and near-universal method of expression in all languages,” according to the Instagram report.
So to all those emoji naysayers:
Then again, we might’ve gotten that wrong. It sure looks like a fuming face, but in fact it’s actually a “face of triumph.”