SwiftKey aggregated more than 1 billion emojis sent by millions of users of its keyboard cloud system (an opt-in service that analyzes what users type to responsively predict their most-used words) between October 2014 and January 2015. It divided the more than 800 emoji symbols into 60 categories, from hearts to monkeys to “raunchy,” and then analyzed the most frequently used emojis by country and language.
Unsurprisingly, SwiftKey found the traditional smiley and frowny faces far outpace the other emojis: close to 60 percent of all emojis sent were traditional faces, with happy faces more popular than their mopey counterparts.
The most often used smiley face is the laughing-so-hard-you’re-crying face, with the blowing-a-kiss/winking face close behind in most countries. After faces, the most popular emoji categories were hearts (12.5 percent of all emojis sent), hand gestures (5.3 percent) and “romantic” images such as the lipstick kiss print (2.4 percent).
But where the report gets interesting is when you start to look at specific countries and languages. French users, for example, send heart emojis more than any other category, including smiley faces (it is the language of love, after all). According to SwiftKey, Americans used the drumstick, eggplants, birthday cake, and money bag emojis (among a handful of others) slightly more often than average.
Canadians, meanwhile, used “raunchy” category emojis, such as the jerking-off fist and the smiley poop, more often than average. But there is one caveat: since there are so many emojis, the percentages drop significantly once you break away from the top few. For example: US users sent meat emojis 0.12 percent of the time, compared to 0.6 percent in the overall average.
SwiftKey also chose to categorize the eggplant emoji under “raunchy” rather than food, a nod to the common understanding that it’s often used as a phallic symbol. Its popularity compared to other food emojis—the eggplant is used 0.05 percent of the time in the US compared to 0.02 percent for the corn or 0.01 percent for the tomato—indicates it most likely isn’t being used to represent the vegetable. Nobody eats eggplant that much.
It’s not exactly ground-breaking research, but the analysis finally lends some data to what a lot of us assume about our modern hieroglyphs: eggplants are dicks, laughing-until-you-cry is the new LOL, and the poop emoji is way better than the toilet.