Canadians Love Poop, Americans Love Pizza: How Emojis Fare Worldwide

Canadians Love Poop, Americans Love Pizza: How Emojis Fare Worldwide

6:20pm May 04, 2015
SwiftKey analyzed more than a billion pieces of emoji data, organized by language and country. The poop emoji was most popular in Canada.
SwiftKey analyzed more than a billion pieces of emoji data, organized by language and country. The poop emoji was most popular in Canada.
Unicode/Apple

Smartphones have become an essential part of many people's lives — 64 percent of Americans own one. And just as smartphones grew in popularity, so too have emojis. There are now more than a thousand emojis, and some of them can really say a lot about how people are using language and communicating.

So which emojis do people use the most? That's the central question in a new study that looks at emoji use around the world. The company SwiftKey analyzed more than a billion pieces of emoji data, organized by language and country. According to SwiftKey's chief marketing officer, Joe Braidwood, the results were fascinating. Here's a sample of what researchers found:

People are mostly likely to send happy faces:

"The overall thing we noticed is that 70 percent of all emojis sent are positive and so that's probably a good thing that we're talking to each other positively and using emoji to enhance that," Braidwood says.

Canada loves poop:

"Canadians lead the charge in their use of money, violence, sports-related, raunchy, and even the poop emoji," he says.

Americans love their guns ... and their pizza:

Americans are second behind Canada in their love of violent emojis, such as guns.

But one thing Americans also really, really love is pizza.

"Pizza was one of the most frequently used [emojis] in the U.S., as well as the chicken drumstick ... and I think it shows you that, versus other nations, you guys have particular food habits," Braidwood says.

It's a party in Australia:

"In Australia we found that emojis that referenced drugs, alcohol, junk food and holidays were used much more than any other nation," he says.

He also notes that the French really are hopeless romantics. They use heart emojis four times more than anyone else. And Arabic speakers are big fans of the rose emoji, using it 10 times more than other language speakers.

Spanish-speaking Americans aren't as happy:

"On a slightly less positive note, one of the really fascinating things that we found out is U.S. Spanish-speakers were the most negative," Braidwood says.

Spanish-speaking Americans used sad faces more than any other language. "The most popular emoji that they used out of the sad faces was the crying emoji," he says.

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

There are universal languages, like love and music and math. And in the era of the smartphone, you can add emojis to that list.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Yes, emojis. Those are those colorful, little icons - the happy face many people know - that have become essential for text messaging.

INSKEEP: Well, not quite essential. I get away without them.

MONTAGNE: (Laughter).

INSKEEP: But anyway, a new study by the British company SwiftKey analyzed how 800 different emojis are used in various languages across the globe.

JOE BRAIDWOOD: The overall thing we noticed is that 70 percent of all emojis sent are positive, and so that's probably a good thing that we're talking to each other positively and using emoji to enhance that.

INSKEEP: Smiley face.

MONTAGNE: That would be Joe Braidwood's opinion, SwiftKey's chief marketing officer. He says that no matter where you are, people mostly use happy faces. But that's not the whole story.

BRAIDWOOD: Where it gets really interesting is if you look at the quarter of emoji used by people that aren't happy faces or hearts or sad faces.

INSKEEP: For example, in Canada.

BRAIDWOOD: Canadians lead the charge in their use of money, violence, sports-related, raunchy and even the poop emoji.

INSKEEP: He just said that. Canadians love the smiling poop icon.

MONTAGNE: Americans are a close second to their northern neighbors in their use of the gun emoji. And down under, well, it's a party.

BRAIDWOOD: In Australia, we found that emojis that reference drugs, alcohol, junk food and holidays were used much more than any other nation.

INSKEEP: Right. Arabic speakers use the rose emoji 10 times more than any other group.

BRAIDWOOD: On a slightly less positive note, one of the really fascinating things that we found out is U.S. Spanish speakers were the most negative.

INSKEEP: Now, Braidwood says Spanish-speaking Americans are the heaviest users of the sad face.

MONTAGNE: Then there's the entire category of food emojis.

BRAIDWOOD: Pizza was one of the most frequently used in the U.S. as well as the chicken drumstick, and it sort of, I think, shows you that, versus other nations, you guys have particular food habits.

INSKEEP: Particular, which is one way of saying that Americans love greasy junk food. Maybe he said that with a winky face. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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