The word “emoji” just made it into the dictionary in 2013, which is surprising when you consider that 74 percent of Americans say they use emojis — those small digital pictures or symbols representing things, feelings, or concepts that are used in text messages and other electronic communications — every day.
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The use of emojis, which originated in Japan, is so widespread that nearly half of all Instagram comments contain them. The word “emoji” means “picture letter” in Japanese.
A new map from SwiftKey, which creates keyboard apps for Android and iPhones that run on about 250 million devices worldwide, show which of these “picture letters” are most popular in each U.S. state.
In some cases, there are obvious reasons for a state’s use of particular emojis.
California, where Uber and Lyft were founded, is partial to taxi symbols along with sushi, ramen, lemon, sunset and bikes. Maine — home of supervolcanoes (yes, really) — is number one for volcanoes while New York’s top emoji is — no surprise here — the Statue of Liberty.
SwiftKey analyzed the use of more than a billion emojis to come up with its interactive map showing which picture letters are most popular in each state.
Some of the most popular symbols and pictures are surprising. For example, the smiling poop emoji is used more in Vermont than in any other state, while New Hampshire is big on alcohol and Maine is into drug emojis. The study ranks Pennsylvania as using more “raunchy” categories than average.
The sad-face emoji 🙁 is most popular in New Jersey while the happy-face 🙂 is used most in South Dakota.
Check out the full interactive map here.