An Emoji Is The Word Of The Year


The Oxford English Dictionary (EOD) has selected a specific emoji as its word of the year. Meanwhile Twitter appears to be considering following Facebook in allowing a range of emoji to replace a simple “like” button.

The OED selected the emoji pictured above, known in words as “Face with Tears of Joy.” It said the image “best reflected the ethos, mood, and preoccupations of 2015.”

According to the dictionary’s staff, using an emoji as the word of the year for the first time was appropriate because the level of usage more than tripled between the summer of 2014 and 2015. The rise was from around 2000 usages among every billion words Oxford Dictionaries monitored in print and online to nearly 8000 usages per billion.

Several other tech words made the shortlist for this year, including sharing economy, ad blocker and Dark Web.

Despite the award, there’s no guarantee that the emoji will wind up being included in any of the Oxford dictionaries.

Meanwhile a developer build of the Twitter app reportedly includes a range of emoji available to respond to a tweet. It’s not yet clear exactly what effect making such a selection will have; in this test set-up, any reponse is simply treated as a “like”, shown by a heart icon.

The testing comes only weeks after Twitter caused a furor by replacing “favorites” with “likes” though the fuss seems overblown seeing as the only practical change was a star icon being replaced by a heart icon.

Facebook is already publicly testing a system where users can choose from six emoji responses (each of which would be tallied up separately on a post) in place of the traditional thumbs up icon for a “like” response.

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