SwiftKey Finds Emoji Usage Shaped by Culture, Climate and Geography

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Text messaging has become second nature in our digitally interconnected world. Whether telling a story or simply saying hello to a friend, text messages allow real-time dialogue to be possible when verbal communication is not.

As important as letters and words, visual images have become integrated into our text messages, making the emoji keyboard just as popular as the classic text keyboard.

Social platforms like Twitter and Instagram have changed the way we communicate by using shorter and more concise content. It’s no wonder that the same now applies to our everyday text chains.

Emojis have become a witty and creative, yet useful, tool through which we can communicate. These simple illustrations help to instantly tell a story—how a person thinks and feels—through a single image.

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Not only are emojis a fun and succinct way to communicate, they can be a way for brands and organizations to understand and measure what people most often talk and care about.

SwiftKey, a software company that designs keyboards for iOS and Android phones, conducted a study around global trends in emoji usage. The study analyzed emoji usage by country and language, and found that much like nations themselves, emoji usage is also shaped by culture, climate and geography.

As reported in The Atlantic, SwiftKey found that the French love to use the heart emoji. Americans, meanwhile, prefer emojis that depict technology, royalty—and eggplants! Canadians enjoy emojis for pizza—and the pile of poop!

As emojis are more frequently used, we may be better able to understand themes and topics that most resonate with people, and how brands and organizations can better deliver across these.

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Below, check out NBC’s report on SwiftKey’s study:

—Dan Castillo is a New York-based strategy consultant.

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