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Emoji: a brand new human language?via emojinalart.com

Instagram: emoji represents the ‘rise of a new language’

The photo-sharing platform firmly believes we're in the middle of a communication evolution

Remember when you used to rofl and lmao? Language is always evolving, but the internet has accelerated its development at a speed greater than anything we've seen before. Ever since Apple added an emoji keyboard to iOS back in 2011, emoji is fast replacing acronyms as the online slang of choice, with prayer hands and party poppers proving increasingly more popular than pmsl.

As you'd expect, Instagram's engineers are wise to these changes in habits and honoured to find themselves witnessing such a seismic shift. Its blog states: "It is a rare privilege to observe the rise of a new language."

As of March this year, nearly half of text on Instagram contained emoji. In Finland, Instagrammers use emoji in over 60 per cent of text. The question Instagram asks is: "In the future, will all text contain emoji?"

The most popular emoji on the photo sharing site is the Face With Tears Of Joy emoji. Instagram's custom-built algorithm ascertains that this symbol has most in common with early internet acronyms such as "lolol, lmao, lololol or lolz". 

Interestingly, the company notes "a decline in internet slang corresponding to rise in the usage of emoji" – suggesting that emoji is actually evolving as a language to replace these abbreviations, not complement them. Guess we've returned to ancient symbolism to evolve faster than ever.