In anticipation of the 25th anniversary of the Emoticon, we invited Yahoo! Messenger users to take part in a survey about how they use emoticons. Below are some highlights of the sometimes surprising but always entertaining answers we received from the 40,000 respondents. Can you relate?
“Emoti-sential” – 82% of those who use Yahoo! Messenger daily use emoticons in their instant messaging (IM) conversations.
Express Yourself – The majority of survey respondents say that they best express themselves in IM using emoticons. Nearly two-thirds (61%) rely on emoticons to best express their feelings, while 17% rely on Internet slang (i.e. LOL, GR8) and 13% rely on photo sharing.
LOL – A whopping 83% of respondents say that “happiness” is one of the two emotions they express most often using emoticons. “Flirting” is the second favorite emotion and next most expressed.
I Heart You – More than half of those surveyed think that feelings of love are easier to convey using emoticons than in person – 57% of respondents would rather tell a “crush” their true feelings using an emoticon. 10% of respondents would go as far as proposing marriage to their loved one via IM.
It’s Not You, It’s Me – Some things are better said in person. Men and women both agree that telling someone “things aren’t working out” or “we should break up” is better said face to face – only 12% of females and 11% of males would opt for a break-up with an emoticon.
“Emoti-Graphic” Memory – 66% of Yahoo! Messenger users have memorized the text characters for three or more emoticons – 19% of respondents have memorized more than 10.
Gen IM – Respondents from the ages of 19 to 25 are the most avid emoticon users, with 68% in this age group using emoticons on a daily basis. But it’s not just the younger generation embracing emoticons – nearly half (48%) of respondents over the age of 50 are using emoticons in their everyday communication.
It’s a Girl Thing – 82% of respondents think that women are more likely to use emoticons than men.
You’re Fired! – Men are more prone to use IM and emoticons to fire someone (14%) versus women [11%].
Plus, head over to Yahoo! Yodel to read an interview with the inventor of the emoticon, Professor Scott Fahlman.