Throughout the Internet’s long and winding history, people have been using emoticons of various types as a kind of shorthand to represent reactions or opinions—from 🙂 to <3. The rise of emoji, however, has taken this concept to the next level—and taken the internet by storm.
Like all brilliantly cute things digital, emojis originated in Japan, where their use quickly spread in online messaging and posts. Fun fact: the word emoji literally means “picture” (e) + “character” (moji).
It’s hard to explain to those unfamiliar with the charming little emoticons just what makes them so darn intoxicating, but they’ve become pretty darn ubiquitous. You can make someone feel better with a winking face, or celebrate an occasion with confetti. Goodness knows a face weeping with laughter is way more vivid than, say, the tired old “LOL.” Emoji fever has even brought us videos composed entirely of emoji—like the viral hit cover of Beyoncé‘s “Drunk in Love” or the emoji recap of “Game of Thrones.”
But just which emoji are the most popular? Which emoji to people worldwide use the most, and is any emoji’s popularity truly universal?
The folks at DataLab at FiveThirtyEight set out to discover just which emoji were the most-used, and rounded up the top 100 in a handy chart that you can view here. As a (big) caveat, the number-crunchers were only able to track emoji that folks used on Twitter, but there are still some interesting takeaways from the list.
- People really, really love hearts. According to DataLab’s calculations, hearts account for nearly 10% of all the emojis in the top 100 used on Twitter, and hearts are featured in 14 of the top 100 emoji.
- The “Hearts” and “Joy” emoji are far and away the most popular emoji. They’re ahead by a mile. Rounding out the top 10 are “Unamused” at #3, “Heart Eyes” at #4, and “Relaxed” at #5.
- When it comes to expressions, the top three are “Joy,” “Unamused,” and “Heart Eyes.” At least people aren’t angry?
- Women beat men. “Information Desk Person” is the first appearance of a gendered person—at #20—and then no men show up until #91 (“Walking”). (Unless you count that buff bicep, “Muscle,” at #72.
- “Traditional” emoji still rule. Despite the fact that the options are incredibly varied—dancing ladies, food, hand signals—the top 15 emoji are all expressive yellow faces (well, and hearts, naturally).
- Some of the emoji you’d think are popular … aren’t. The dancing girls barely cracks the list at #99 (what!) and “Poop” is surprisingly unpopular at #88.
- Sorry, Beyonce fans: No surfboard. It doesn’t crack the list.
Take a look at the complete list of the top 100 emoji on Twitter here, and tell us: Did your most-used emoji make the list?
Bonus! Want even more emoji stats? Check out this unbelievable real-time emoji tracker that shows up-to-the-instant stats most-used emoji on Twitter!