Dear everyone who spent the last few years moaning about emojis heralding the end of the written word/Shakespeare/love letters, you may want to sit down and pause. The emoji isn’t going anywhere. In fact, it’s very much staying. Today, the Oxford Dictionaries announced that their chosen Word of the Year wasn’t a word, but an emoji. Specifically the ‘tears of joy’ emoji. The one which signifies you’re laughing so much you’re crying. A rare enough occurrence in real life, but an infectious rash in the world of need-wifi messaging.
In a blog post about the announcement, Oxford Dictionaries said the emoji in question “was chosen as the ‘word’ that best reflected the ethos, mood, and preoccupations of 2015.” Most people who have been watching the news these past few days are shaking their heads in a very solemn manner.
How did Oxford University Press, the publishing behemoth behind those heavy dictionaries, arrive at selecting an emoji? They partnered with mobile technology business SwiftKey to assess the most popular emoji across the world. According to statistics, laughing/crying face was the used emoji globally in 2015, making up 20% of all the emojis used in the UK in 2015, and 17% of those in the US. In 2014, its use stood at 4% and 9% respectively.
Last year’s Word of the Year was vape, which makes a lot of sense because I’m this close to forming a Vaper WAGs club for gals whose hair ends up smelling like whatever weird flavours their partners are ordering online. Other words considered by the panel for this year’s Word of the Year include on fleek, lumbersexual (what our hearts would have chosen tbh), and refugee. While we understand the entire Word of the Year announcement in usually just a bit of headline-producing fun, choosing refugee in such an emotionally and politically turbulent year would have been a statement society needed.